25 September 2017
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  • » 06/21/2017, 12.05

    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.


     

    Beijing (AsiaNews) - Germany's ambassador to China Michael Clauss (photo 2) has asked the Beijing government to release the bishop of Wenzhou, Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin (photo 1) and expressed concern about new religious regulations that risk "to implement new restrictions on the right to religious freedom and belief."

    In a statement released yesterday on behalf of the ambassador on the embassy site, he reads: "I welcome China's declared intention to achieve progress with regard to the Catholic Church. However, despite progress in this direction, we also see setbacks in guaranteeing religious freedom. One case of growing concern is the treatment of Bishop Shao Zhumin by the authorities. Since autumn last year he seems to have been forced to move to unknown locations no less than four times and now seems to have been confined to his home since his return. His full freedom of movement should be restored."

    Bishop Shao, of the underground community, is bishop of Wenzhou. He is recognized by the Holy See, but not by the government. Since the death of his predecessor, Msgr. Vincenzo Zhu Weifang, on September 7th, he has been continuously abducted to force him to join the Patriotic Association, which preaches the independence of the Church in China from the Holy See.

    He was last abducted on 18 May. On June 16, he was seen at Wenzhou Airport, accompanied by governmental officials, who conducted him to an unknown place.

    In his note, Ambassador Clauss adds: "I am also concerned about a number of new rules in a draft regulation on religious affairs. If unchanged, they could place further restrictions on the right to freedom of religion and belief."

    The new regulations - which were drafted in September, but which have already been referred to as "definitive" - ​​control every aspect of religious activity: gatherings, staff, bishops, schools, buildings, statues, meetings with foreign faiths, holidays and placement of priests , ... If implemented, they will render any "underground" and unregistered activity "criminal", suffocating or eliminating underground communities.

    Michael Clauss's public position is a novelty in the diplomatic world after such a long time. In the past both the European Union and US President George W. Bush had pleaded the fate of some imprisoned bishops and religious freedom in China. Then, for at least a decade, silence fell.

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    See also

    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.



    17/06/2017 13:37:00 CHINA – VATICAN
    Wenzhou: Mgr Shao back in Wenzhou under police escort

    The bishop is recognised by the Holy See but not by the government. He was held for 27 days during which he attended a “religious seminar" to convince him to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and force the Vatican to appoint right away a coadjutor bishop from the official community.



    13/04/2017 10:09:00 CHINA - VATICAN
    Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, bishop of Wenzhou (underground) seized by police

    Public security will not reveal where he was taken, but allow the faithful to deliver some clothes for their pastor. The bishop will celebrate Easter with his faithful. Pressures on the prelate to adhere to the Patriotic Association. A similar fate to that of Msgr. Guo Xijin. It is also pressure on the Holy See.



    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.



    26/06/2017 14:11:00 VATICAN – CHINA
    Holy See has expressed “grave concern” over the fate of Mgr Shao Zhumin, held by police for more than a month

    The bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang), who belongs to the underground community, is said to be undergoing brainwashing to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Since China and the Holy See resumed talks three years ago, this is the first time that the Holy See Press Office speaks about a detained bishop. The faithful have felt too much pain over the Vatican’s extended silence. Germany’s ambassador in Beijing, Michael Clauss, has talked about the case. The Vatican’s press office calls on the faithful to pray for Bishop Shao Zhumin and “the path of the Catholic Church in China.”





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