At a May 7 prayer service in Hong Kong, Catholics prayed for answers to the mysterious death of an underground priest in mainland China last November.
Father Pedro Yu Heping, also known as Wei Heping, was found dead Nov. 8 in the Fen River, a tributary of the Yellow River that flows through Shanxi province.
His family disputed the official cause of death, which was ruled a suicide. Officials in China have refused to release Father Yu’s body until his family signs documents accepting the suicide ruling.
Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, retired bishop of Hong Kong, told 70 Catholics gathered for the prayer service that Father Yu’s family continues to suffer. "Half a year has gone already. They could not hold a proper ceremony to pay tribute to the priest," he said.
"The authorities claimed Father Yu had committed suicide. If his family does not sign the official documents, agreeing on the conclusion, they cannot get back his body," the cardinal said.
Cardinal Zen questioned why police would not open an investigation as ever-present surveillance cameras in China may have captured Father Yu’s final moments.
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