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  • » 01/04/2018, 09.13

    CHINA-VATICAN

    Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou freed after 7 months



    He was released from police custody yesterday. From Xining, where he was, he will go to Beijing for treatment and then return to his diocese. His liberation - it is assumed - is the result of international pressure and the campaign of prayers and fasts launched by his community. He has not signed any membership of the Patriotic Association.

    Wenzhou (AsiaNews) - Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang), recognized by the Holy See, but not by the government, has  been released. On May 18, 2017, he was taken by police and officials from the Religious Affairs Bureau and distanced from his diocese. Since yesterday he is free to move and is no longer under police custody. AsiaNews sources in Wenzhou say that he is not yet in his city, but he is in Xining (Qinghai), 2500 km from Wenzhou, where he was brought by police.

    The reason for his release is still unclear. According to some faithful, it is the result of the campaign of prayers and fasts launched by the diocese last December 18 (see photo), which immediately spread throughout the world. In releasing him, the police hope to prevent his case gaining even more global exposure. In the last few months, the German ambassador in Beijing, Michael Clauss, called for his release. Even the Holy See had expressed concern over his fate.

    The last time he was seen was on September 11th at the Tongren Hospital in Beijing where he underwent ear surgery. On that occasion he posted a message on his Wechat account asking his faithful to pray for him, but not to visit him. After the operation, still under police custody, he was taken to Xining for his convalescence.

    AsiaNews sources say that, before returning to Wenzhou, he will have to go through Beijing: to the hospital where he was treated for the fitting of a hearing aid.

    In all these months, the police applied psychological pressure on him to make him join the Patriotic Association, the party body designed to establish a Church independent of the Holy See. Faced with his refusal, in early December, representatives of religious affairs asked him to undersign the four conditions for receiving government recognition of his episcopal status. They include his support for the principle of an independent Church; support for self-nomination and self-ordination [of bishops]; concelebration with an illicit bishop, not recognized by the Vatican; the submission to the new religious regulations that will be launched next February. Bu again Msgr. Shao refused.

    For decades the Catholic community of Wenzhou - about 130,000 faithful - has been divided between official and non-official communities: more than 80 thousand belong to the unofficial community. There are 70 priests, divided equally between the two communities. Msgr Shao, 54, despite being a member of the underground Church, is also appreciated by the official community. 

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    See also

    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.


     



    19/06/2017 16:27:00 CHINA – VATICAN
    Mgr Peter Shao Zhumin, Wenzhou’s bishop not recognised by the government, is missing again

    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.



    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.



    24/07/2017 09:36:00 CHINA - VATICAN
    60 years of the Chinese Patriotic Association: the Church subordinated to Politics

    Although in a low key - perhaps because of talks with the Vatican - the slogan for an "autonomous" and "independent" Church (from the Holy See) is completely subjugated to Party politics. Official bishops die like "state officials" far from the faithful. The Party forces its members to atheism. There are few  "witnesses" among official bishops and many  "opportunists".

     



    06/06/2017 11:00:00 CHINA-VATICAN
    Wenzhou, 20 days and still no news of Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, seized by police

    The bishop disappeared after being called for a meeting with the Office for Religious Affairs. Bishop Shao is recognized by the Vatican, but not by the government. The bishop's mother, 90, asks to be able to see her son. Catholics in Wenzhou ask for prayers for their shepherd, so he may be "strong" in faith and witness. In the past some underground bishops were killed while in police hands.





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