Monk arrested in slayings of priest, nun in China

| July 9, 2010

BEIJING — A Catholic monk has confessed to killing a priest and a nun whose bodies were found at the hospice in northern China where they worked, state media said Friday.

The Xinhua News Agency report gave no details about the motive behind the stabbing deaths of priest Zhang Shulai and nun Wei Yanhui, both members of China's unauthorized church. A report by AsiaNews, a missionary news agency close to the Vatican, said their bodies were found in a pool of blood after they failed to show up for morning Mass on Tuesday.

Monk Zhang Wenping, 43, was arrested Thursday in Hohhot, capital of the Inner Mongolia region, the report said, citing a police spokesman in Wuhai city where the hospice is located. The report did not elaborate on the alleged confession.

Zhang Wenping, like the victims, was also a member of the unauthorized church, said Zhang Pengyao, a local priest in the official church, who confirmed the arrest.

Phones in the administration department of the Wuhai police rang unanswered Friday.

China's Communist government allows worship only in state-approved churches, but many Catholics belong to unregistered congregations. Such "house churches" are subjected to varying degrees of harassment by authorities.

Christians worshipping in China's independent churches are believed to number upward of 60 million, compared with about 20 million people who worship in the state church, according to numbers provided by scholars and church activists.

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Category: Church Security

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