The violent incident, which occurred on December 16, was similar to another episode, earlier this month, in which nuns were assaulted in Xian. In each case, the mob violence came as Catholics protested the seizure of Church property by government officials.
In Tianjin, priests and nuns were clubbed with iron bars. One priest was knocked unconscious, four other priests and a nun required medical treatment. The "thugs" responsible for the beatings fled when police arrived. However, instead of pursuing the assailants, police held the injured priests for lengthy questioning, before finally taking them to a hospital for medical treatment.
In a message sent to AsiaNews (1), the clergy of Tianjin said: "The incident has left us dumbfounded! We can only hope that competent authorities get the thugs and deliver them to justice."
A more complete account (2) of the incident, and the seizure of property that led up to the confrontation, can be found on the AsiaNews web site.