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China Catholics crack down on Hong Kong

BEIJING (AP) — A leader of mainland China's state-sanctioned Catholic Church has urged Hong Kong's top Roman Catholic to support a proposed law to limit allegedly subversive activity.

"We hope Hong Kong's church will be patriotic and love the law," said Bishop Michael Fu Tieshan, who heads the government-controlled organization that oversees the mainland church.

Bishop Joseph Zen, the outspoken leader of Hong Kong's Roman Catholic Church, says if Hong Kong's local legislature adopts the bill, Hong Kong churches could be suppressed because of their ties with the underground Roman Catholic parishes on the mainland.

Mainland Christians are only allowed to attend churches sanctioned by the state. Scholars estimate that roughly half the 12 million Catholics worship in underground churches loyal to the Vatican, risking arrest.

Hong Kong's 347,000 Roman Catholics currently operate freely under the autonomy arrangement devised when China took over the British colony in 1997.