04/07/2004, 00.00
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Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo arrested

Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo arrested

Rome (AsiaNews) -  Msgr. Julius Jia Zhiguo, the underground Catholic Bishop of Zhengding (Hebei) was arrested on April 5, 2004.  According to a report by the Kung Foundation, a car with four government security policemen suddenly appeared at the bishop's residence at approximately 1:30 pm local time and removed him  When asked why the bishop was taken away, the police answered that they were carrying out the order from their superior.  Up to now no details are available on whew he is being detained.

Bishop Jia is 69 years old and was ordained a bishop in 1980.  He has been in house arrest many times. Sometimes, on the occasion of Party meetings or heads of states' visits, he is kidnapped by the police and taken in unknown places. Msgr Jia Zhiguo has already spent 20 years in jail. He is the head of one of the liveliest dioceses in Hebei, the Chinese area around Beijing, were there is the highest concentration of Catholics, around 1,5 million. In 1999, to prevent his evangelization work, the police forbade him to run a house for handicapped orphans.

According to AsiaNews sources, the bishop was probably arrested because of the proximity with the Easter season. Public Security officials, to prevent what they define "social disorders" – i.e. liturgical celebrations which escape  police control – they arrest bishops and priests of the underground church in the period between the Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost.

But other sources say that since last November the government has launched a campaign to permanently eliminate all unofficial cults, without differentiating between government recognized religions (Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist) and sects or fanatics.

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See also
Mons. Wei Jingyi, Bishop of Underground Church arrested
Father Bao: from Communist militant to priest in the underground Church
"Low-key" visit by US religious freedom watchdog angers Beijing
Eight priests and two seminarians from underground church arrested
Police detain 100 Protestant leaders in raid against house churches in Jilin province


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