Chinese underground bishop released

.- A Chinese bishop of the "underground" Catholic Church has been released after five months in police custody, reports AsiaNews. He remains however, under house arrest.

Bishop Giulio Jia Zhiguo, 70, returned April 19 to his residence, where he is under constant police surveillance. His release occurred while Chinese leader Hu Jintao was visiting the United States, local sources pointed out.

The bishop had been arrested Nov. 8, kept in isolation and subjected to heavy pressure to join the government-sponsored Catholic Patriotic Association. This was the eighth arrest for Bishop Jia since 2004; he has now spent 20 years in prison over his lifetime.
Bishop Jia is among the most prominent leaders of the Catholic community in the Hebei province, where government officials have undertaken a vigorous campaign to suppress the underground Church.

Despite the frequent arrest and interrogation of Catholic clerics, there are an estimated 1 million people active in China’s underground Church.


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