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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Catholic Priest Released from Chinese Prison

By:   Theresa Marie Moreau
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Father Lu Father Lu

An underground Roman Catholic priest, unlawfully detained by the Chinese Communists for the last eight years, was released on August 9, 2014, as reported by AsiaNews.

Political prisoner of conscience, Father Gen-Jun “Joseph” Lu, 52, of the Baoding diocese, Hebei province, was last seen on February 17, 2006, when he and Father Yan-Li Guo went to meet another underground priest at the Baoding Train Station.

As Lu and Guo walked down a narrow residential byway to the local bus station, they hugged close to the buildings, when a car speeding down the lane screeched to a halt, nearly hitting them. The doors popped open, and several men, shouting and screaming, scrambled out and headed for the two.


Filled with fear, the priests ran.

But it was a short chase. In a matter of seconds, the men from the car – who turned out to be plainclothes police officers from the government’s Public Security Bureau – captured the two priests, who peacefully retreated to the waiting unmarked police car, which drove off, parting the sea of bicycles rolling along the streets in front of them.

Sometime later, after their arrival at the police station, authorities separated Lu and Guo. Lu was taken into one direction, Guo another and was soon released.

At the time of his abduction by Communist authorities, Lu was the administrative leader of the Roman Catholic Church in the diocese of Baoding – an ancient city with a vast legion of underground Catholics faithful to the Pope.

Born on October 14, 1962, the son of a farmer, Lu was raised in a rural area in Dingxian, a county village about 45 miles
south of Baoding. After he finished high school, he sought direction in life and a bit of pocket money, so he enlisted in the People’s Liberation Army and joined the medical staff as a physician’s assistant.

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But at night, Lu had a secret life.

In the dormitory, while his fellow soldiers slept in their beds around him, he lay in his own with a set of headphones clamped tightly over his ears. With one finger on the dial of his radio, he switched back and forth, listening to several talk radio stations. His favorites: the ones with Bible readings.

As soon as he was discharged, he sought out the underground seminary in his home district, to meet with its priests, with whom he became fast friends,

In May 1989, Lu received the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Not long after, he was called upon to lead the faithful in the Baoding Diocese.

For on October 8, 1997, Communist authorities with the Public Security Bureau hunted down and arrested the head of Lu’s diocese, Bishop Zhi-Ming “Jacobus” Su, who has not been officially seen since. If still alive, he would be in his early 80s.

In 1994, by the time he was 60, Bishop Su had been arrested no fewer than five times and had already spent almost 25 years in prisons and labor camps.

Now that Father Lu has been released, when will Bishop Su be freed?

Last modified on Wednesday, August 20, 2014