At least 10 priests of the unofficial or “underground” Catholic community in the city of Baoding in the province of Hebei disappeared in the hands of the police since January this year.
At least four of those who went missing disappeared on the 29th and 30th of April, said a report on AsiaNews.
The underground Catholic community in Baoding is one of the oldest and most numerous in China even as its bishop, Giacomo Su Zhimin, has been in the hands of the police for at least 25 years, having already spent more than 40 years in forced labor in the 1970s.
Another Catholic priest in the city, Liu Honggeng, is in prison for seven years already.
The unofficial community of Baoding split after its vicar, Francis An Shuxin, decided to join the “official Church” after spending decades in prison.
The faithful in Baoding appealed for prayers for the missing priests, adding that relatives of the priests have already reported the incident to the police in vain. People said more Church leaders may be arrested soon.
In the past, kidnapped priests and bishops were later found dying or dead.