(Beijing) On the night of December 19th, a women's monastery in the People's Republic of China was evicted by the police and largely destroyed. The monastery is located in Gannan County, Qiqihar District Free City, Heilongjiang Province.
The police forced the nuns to leave the monastery within an hour. The authorities say the building was illegally built and houses an underground church community.
Bishop Wei Jingyi announced today that the nuns have found an emergency shelter. They also managed to convince the authorities to leave at least a part of the monastery building. So the part with the chapel could be saved.
The remaining parts were destroyed.
On December 18, at around 11 pm, police intruded. The nuns had until midnight to leave the monastery. In Qiqihar, temperatures below freezing prevail at this time.
The sisters informed Bishop Wei Jingyi. On December 19, demolition work continued. Construction crews expanded doors, windows, and window sills. Meanwhile, the bishop and some priests and faithful were seeking to inquire with the authorities.
The monastery building, according to the authorities, was illegally built and houses illegal religious gatherings. The monastic community belongs to the faithful Underground Church and not to the Patriotic Association. Bishop Wei Jingyi is also recognized by the Pope, but not by the Communist government, even though, according to AsiaNews, he seeks "a good relationship with the authorities.”
Believers think that the action serves to put pressure on the sister convent to submit to government control as an officially registered community.
Bishop Wei Jingyi announced this morning that a new shelter for the sisters could be found. They hope to continue to use the chapel in the largely destroyed monastery.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
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