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    » 02/13/2010, 00.00

    CHINA - VATICAN

    New Year in prison for the Chinese bishops. Two priests released

    Zhen Yuan

    The family of Bishop Jia Zhiguo have been requesting his release for months, but they have not been answered. Two other bishops missing for years in police custody: Bishop James Su Zhimin and Bishop Cosma Shi Enxiang. The two priests released belong to the diocese of Zhengding.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) - Despite repeated requests of Catholics and their families, Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo, underground bishop of Zhengding (Hebei), will remain under sequester during the festivities of Chinese New Year, which begins tomorrow. With him, two other underground bishops remain segregated in unknown places in the hands of police.  

    Meanwhile, police in Zhengding areas have in recent weeks released two priests of the diocese: Fr. Hu Baoguo, vicar general, was released on Jan. 29 at 10 pm, Fr. Ma Hong'en was released on 6 January. Underground priests were often targeted and subjected to periods of imprisonment to force them to join the Patriotic Association, the state body that wants to build a National Catholic Church, separate from Rome.

    In recent months, the family of Bishop Jia, and especially his nephew, along with lay leaders of the diocese have constantly appealed to the leaders of the Religious Affairs Bureau to free the bishop for the New Year celebrations, which are an important appointment for families to come together. But today it was confirmed that the bishop will remain in police custody.  

    Bishop Jia Zhiguo was arrested on 30 March, 2009, as the Vatican Commission on China held a closed-door encounter. At the conclusion of the meeting, a statement by the Vatican asked for his release (see: 31/03/2009 Police arrest underground Zhengding bishop Jia Zhiguo and 02/04/2009 Vatican's "sadness" over arrest of Bishop Jia Zhiguo. The Church and formation).  

    Catholics of Zhengding and the village of Wuqiu, home to the cathedral, continue to "pray for his release and his return to pastoral work." According to AsiaNews sources, "Mgr. Jia is in good health and his mind is clear".  The prelate’s nephew was able to visit his uncle in late January.

    During his detention, with Bishop Jia has been allowed to celebrate Mass alone and to read the Compendium of the Pope's letter to Chinese Catholics issued in May 2009. A few police officers charged with overseeing Bishop Jia's cathedral are present only on Sundays. The Bishop was also absent at the memorial Mass to commemorate a year after the death of his uncle, Fr Joseph Jia Fuqin, who died December 26, 2009.  

    Bishop Jia Zhiguo was arrested on 30 March, during a close encounter of the Vatican Commission on China. At the conclusion of the rally, a statement by the Vatican has asked for his release (see: 31/03/2009 seized by the police Msgr. Jia Zhiguo, underground bishop of Zhengding 02/04/2009 and "pain" of the Vatican to stop Msgr. Jia Zhiguo. The Church and training).  

    Just like Bishop Jia, two other bishops remain seized in police custody in unknown locations.

    The first is Bishop James Su Zhimin (diocese of Baoding, Hebei), 75, arrested and disappeared since 1996. In November 2003 he was seen in a hospital in Baoding, controlled by the police, where he underwent treatment for the heart and eyes. But after a few days he disappeared again. The second is Mgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang (diocese of Yixian, Hebei), 86, who was arrested and disappeared April 13, 2001. Bishop Shi, ordained a bishop in '82, had been in prison for 30 years. The last time he was arrested in December '90, and released in '93. Since then he has lived in forced isolation until his latest arrest.  

    AsiaNews sources say that there are some underground priests in prison.  And some other underground bishops in isolation.

     

     

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    See also

    30/12/2011 CHINA – VATICAN
    Two Chinese bishop martyrs recognised as ‘Illustrious Unknown’ for 2011
    Mgr James Su Zhimin, 80, has done 40 years in prison; Mgr Cosma Shi Enxiang, 90, has spent 50 years. No one talks about them whilst the Chinese government says it “does not know where they are”. Many fear they might die under torture as other bishops have done before. The Vatican should demand their release as a condition for dialogue. A campaign is launched on their behalf in 2012.

    09/02/2015 CHINA-VATICAN
    Beijing hides the body of bishop Cosma Shi Enxiang: too "dangerous"
    The underground bishop of Yixian disappeared in police custody in 2001. In late January news of his death spread. But authorities denied the reports. Family members await his corpse or ashes. The long list of underground bishops who have died in prison after torture. The government is terrified of possible demonstrations at his funeral. The visit of Yu Zhengsheng, "number four" from Baoding Politburo. Out of his 93 years of life, Bishop Shi spent 54 years in prison because of his fidelity to the Church and the Pope.

    14/02/2015 HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
    Card Zen and Catholics protest against Beijing over the fate of Mgr Cosma Shi Enxiang
    The Chinese government has not said whether the bishop of Yixian is still alive or dead. White roses and carnations are offered to honour bishops who died in prison, and those alive but still in prison. Chinese authorities violate their own constitution. Protesters called for the release of Mgr Su Zhimin, who disappeared in police custody 17 years ago.

    07/08/2010 CHINA-VATICAN
    Bishop An Shuxin, former underground bishop installed as ordinary of Baoding
    There is already an Ordinary (underground) of the diocese: Mgr. James Su, Zhimin, 13 years in prison. The decision to hold the ceremony made quickly by the government, who wanted Mgr. Ma Yinglin, an illegitimate bishop, to preside. Few participants: 24 priests and 300 faithful. The diocese has 120 priests and over 50 thousand faithful. Card. Bertone’s call to unity.

    10/05/2005 CHINA-VATICAN
    Bishop languishing in Beijing's prisons for four years
    The authorities deny knowing anything about the fate of Bishop Shi Enxiang or Fr Liu Deli, jailed for six years, whose names join that of many others on a list AsiaNews published back in March.



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