Father Cervellera said that the Communist Party fears the interior freedom that religion can bring.
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A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman told the BBC that the arrests were necessary to stop "external forces and individuals [colluding] to undermine China's stability and security.”
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam was cited for her attempts to pass a controversial extradition law in 2019 which, Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin said, caused “a series of massive opposition demonstrations in Hong Kong” last year.
Bishop James Su Zhimin of the Diocese of Baoding was arrested by Chinese authorities in 1997 and was last seen by family at a hospital in 2003 while he was in government custody.
Under the new law, a person who is convicted of secession, subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces will receive a minimum of 10 years in prison, with the possibility of a life sentence.
China has been slowly re-opening institutions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, including religious services.