11/11/2021, 13.10
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Bishop of Wenzhou freed. Spotlight on Pastor Wang Yi, still in prison

Police officers arrested Bishop Shao Zhumin on October 25. Officially, they took him away "on vacation". He is continuously subjected to political "re-education" sessions. Wang finally allowed to meet his wife; UN agency, humanitarian groups and political figures are calling for his immediate release.

 

 

Rome (AsiaNews) - Bishop Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou (Zhejiang), has been freed. Local sources spoke to AsiaNews of his return, although it is not yet clear when the release by the Chinese authorities took place. The Catholic faithful "thank God" for their pastor's return to his home.

Policemen had seized Msgr. Shao on October 25: officially they had taken him away for "tourism". This is not the first time that the police have arrested the bishop, making him disappear for months. Persecuted like Msgr. Lin Xili, first bishop of Wenzhou, Msgr. Shao is often subjected to sessions of brainwashing to push him to join the "official" church, controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 

The signing in 2018, and renewal in October 2020, of the Sino-Vatican Agreement on the Appointment of Bishops has not stopped the persecution of Chinese Catholics, especially unofficial ones. Msgr. Jia Zhiguo is another example, often placed under house arrest. Then there are bishops who suffer various harassments, such as Msgr. Guo Xijin; and bishops forced into political sessions such as Msgr. Zhang Weizhu.

Beijing's repression also extends to Protestant Christians. In recent days ChinaAid has turned the spotlight back on Pastor Wang Yi, sentenced on December 30, 2019 to nine years in prison for "subversion against state power" and other crimes. A former democracy activist at the time of the Tiananmen massacre, Wang later converted to Christianity and became pastor of the Early Rain Church, which had at least 500 members in Chengdu (Sichuan).

Recently, three years after his arrest, Wang was able to receive a visit from his wife. Jiang Rong said her husband is in good health, but underweight. The woman has also suffered police detentions and is basically living under house arrest.

In a tweet posted Nov. 8, Lord David Alton condemned the CCP's continued persecution of the Early Rain Church; he recalled that the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Arrests called for Wang's immediate and unconditional release. 

A member of the House of Lords, Alton is one of nine British figures sanctioned by China in March - Beijing's response to previous punitive measures by London against Chinese officials and entities accused of human rights violations in Xinjiang. According to the British politician, the international community should boycott Chinese products until the CCP puts an end to its policy of "repression and genocide."

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