Thanks to the provisional agreement between China and the Vatican on 22 September, the Chinese government recognized the role of the Pope in the Catholic Church for the first time. On the surface, this agreement created a sufficient condition for reconciliation between the “underground” Church and the “official” Church in China.
The increasing number of optimists consider that with this agreement the government will be able to offer more freedom to Chinese Catholics in their life of faith. But the real situation is the exact opposite , as the faithful of some regions are experimenting.
The “underground” priests are forcefully brought to concelebrate with the “official” bishops led by the government and then photographed. In this wave of “conversion of underground priests”, Hebei is the most influenced region because of the many faithful [over a million Catholics – ed]. The kidnapped include four priests of Zhangjiakou: Fr. Zhang Guilin and Fr. Wang Zhong of the Diocese of Xiwanzi; Fr. Zhao He and Fr. Su Guipeng of the Diocese of Xuanhua.