He was 97. Ordained in 1991 in communion with the Holy See and the approval of the Chinese government, he was sent to a labour camp for his beliefs in 1966 and released in 1980. In 2011 he removed the rector of Shanxi’s major seminary for corruption, clashing with religious authorities linked to the Communist Party of China.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – Bishop John Huo Cheng of Fenyang, a diocese in the north-central province of Shanxi, has passed away. Local Catholics are asking to fellow believers to pray for him.
Born on 1 February 1926, he began to practise Taoism in 1939. On 14 May 1954, he graduated in theology and was ordained a priest.
The authorities sent him to a labour camp for his religious beliefs in 1966, at the start of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. After much suffering, he was released in 1980.
In communion with the Holy See and with the approval of the Chinese government, he was ordained bishop of Fenyang on 4 September 1991.
In September 2011 he came under the spotlight after he clashed with religious authorities linked to the Communist Party of China.
As head of Shanxi’s major regional seminary, which is named after the first archbishop of Beijing, the Franciscan John of Montecorvino (Giovanni da Montecorvino), he removed from office the then rector.
Fr Anthony Chang Tongxi had taken funds intended for the seminary, but the Shanxi Religious Affairs Office wanted to keep him in place, going so far as to block the start of the school year.
At the time, some seminarians had expressed to AsiaNews bitterness over the government's interference in an internal Church matter.