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  • » 08/30/2007, 00.00


    Fr. Jiang Sunian, an underground priest from Wenzhou is released

    The priest, arrested together with the diocesan vicar general, spent 11 months in detention. Hospitalized for a worsening of nasosinusitis, he now suffers heart disease, high blood pressure and vascular sclerosis.

    Rome (AsiaNews) – After 11 months in detention, Fr. Paolo Jiang Sunian, chancellor of the Wenzhou diocese (eastern Zhejiang) was released August 24th. During his imprisonment, Father Jiang was allowed to receive medical treatment in a hospital when his nasosinusitis, an inflammation of the nasal sinuses, worsened.  The priest is now diagnosed to have heart disease, high blood pressure and vascular sclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.


    Fr. Jiang and the diocese's vicar general, Father Peter Shao Zhumin, 46, were arrested together in Shenzhen, southern China, on Sept. 25, 2006i: officers failed to provide a motive for their arrest at the time of their detention.  Both were arrested at three in the afternoon from a friend’s house, shortly after they had arrived in Shenzhen from a pilgrimage to Europe. Their belongings were confiscated, including notes and photographs taken when Pope Benedict XVI received them in the Vatican.


    In March, both priests were charged with "illegal exit." Father Jiang was sentenced to 11 months' imprisonment. Father Shao was sentenced to nine months, but was released on parole in May due to severe hearing and gallstone problems. Recently, he underwent an operation on his right ear. According to some local sources, the present head of the detention centre Putaopeng (where both priest were locked up), was previously the official who had led a crackdown on the Wenzhou underground Church in 1999.


    Both Fr. Shao and Fr. Jiang have already been submitted to imprisonment, the first internment dating back to 1999.  Fr Shao was released after he was urgently hospitalized for an illness contracted during his prison stay.  In November of the same year Fr Jiang was stopped for having illegally published over 120 hymn booklets and subsequently formally arrested on December 23rd. His sentence amounted to 6 years imprisonment and 270 thousand Yuan, but he was released on Christmas day 2003.

    Bishop of the diocese of Wenzhou, Msgr. James Lin Xili, was also arrested in September 1999 and is to this day confined to the Official Cathedral and denied freedom of movement.  He is currently suffering ill health. For further information on the previous arrests of Fr. Shao and Jiang, click here.


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    See also

    22/09/2016 14:01:00 CHINA - VATICAN
    Wenzhou underground priests pay homage to the late (official) bishop

    A group of 16 priests from the underground Church held a "simple but solemn" ceremony of prayer in memory of the late Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang. Fr Paul Jiang, who led the group, was given “a vacation" this morning. Bishop Shao Zhumin, who succeeds the late prelate as ordinary, is still outside the diocese. Wenzhou Catholics thank the Holy See for this decision.

    19/06/2017 16:27:00 CHINA – VATICAN
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    The bishop apparently arrived at Wenzhou airport, but did not go home.  Government officials took him to an unknown place. His priests did not see him at home. According to the latest figures, Wenzhou Catholics number 130,000.

    17/05/2007 CHINA
    Two underground priests from Wenzhou soon to be freed
    Shao Zhoumin, vicar general of the diocese of Wenzhou, and Fr. Jiang Sunian are set to be freed this summer. The two were charged with having falsified their passports. The “Insieme per Prato” association mobilizes itself for their release.

    19/12/2017 12:53:00 CHINA – VATICAN
    Wenzhou, a prayer campaign for Mgr Shao Zhumin, who is still in detention

    The bishop, recognised by the Vatican but not by government, has been in the hands of the police for seven months. He is convalescing from an operation, but watched by security forces, 2,500 km from his diocese. To be recognised by the government, he must join an independent Church (not under the Holy See), accept the self-appointment and self-ordination of bishops, concelebrate with an unlawful bishop, and obey new regulations. The faithful will pray and fast on the 18th of every month.

    21/06/2017 12:05:00 CHINA-GERMANY
    The German ambassador asks China to release Msgr. Shao Zhumin

    In an official statement posted on the embassy site, Michael Clauss asks that the detained bishop of Wenzhou, be given full freedom of movement. Concerns also expressed over drafts of the new regulations on religious activities, which decree the end of the underground communities. It is the first time after a decade that a European ambassador has called for the release of a bishop.


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