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Chinese communist authorities have again arrested Bp. Augustine Cuī Tài, as persecution of the underground Church in China ramps up following the secretive Vatican-China accord.
From the diocese of Xuānhuà near Beijing, Bp. Cuī has been illegally detained (without judicial procedure) since 2007, allowed to return home only temporarily for certain festivals, such as Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival. Prior to this most-recent arrest, Bishop Cuī was spending Easter in the diocese for his longest break from detention in 13 years.
A source told the Union of Catholic Asian News the authorities lacked cause to keep the bishop "in custody for as long as 13 years intermittently." Bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, Cdl. Joseph Zen, who's been calling for the release of Bp. Cuī, explained to Church Militant in February the three phases of what he calls the Vatican's "total sellout" of the underground Catholic Church.
According to Cdl. Zen, "The first step was that secret agreement [the Vatican-China agreement circa Sept. 2018] for the selection of bishops, and then the legitimization of the seven excommunicated bishops (asking the legitimate, underground bishops to step down) and then finally, last June came out that document — the so-called pastoral guidance encouraging people to join the [Catholic] Patriotic Association."
Since the secret Vatican-China accord, Zen has lamented that persecution has intensified and confusion has abounded.
Echoing Zen and speaking of the recent arrest of Bp. Cuī, the project officer of the Justice and Peace Commission of Hong Kong diocese said, "The situation of religious freedom in China has not only not improved but has worsened."
Italian bishop and Vatican official Claudio Maria Celli, who helped draft the provisional 2018 Vatican-China deal, recently said the Holy See will likely renew its deal with the Chinese Communist Party in September.