Chinese authorities jail bishop again


An elderly bishop in China's underground Catholic church has been jailed again by police, nine months after his release from their custody, the Cardinal Kung Foundation reported.

Bishop Jia Zhiguo, 73, was taken away Tuesday by security agents in the northern city of Zhengding. However, it was not immediately clear why Jia was detained or where he was being held, the group said.

According to the Associated Press, a man who answered the telephone at the Zhengding Religious Affairs Bureau referred questions to the local government. Officials at the Zhengding government office and public security bureau said they had never heard of Jia and hung up without giving their names or any other details.

Jia was last released in September 2006 after being held for 10 months by local authorities. The reason was never made public but religious groups say Jia has been repeatedly detained over his refusal to affiliate himself with the Communist Party-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association.

"He was not even allowed to step out of the courtyard of his residence, was not allowed to administer the 'Last Rites' for his dying parishioners, and was not allowed any visitors," the foundation said.

In 1951 China broke off ties with the Vatican and set up a parallel church to undermine the faithfulness of Chinese Catholics to anyone besides the state.

This resulted in two churches in China, those faithful to the Holy Father and those who belong to the state Church. Those who remain faithful are forced underground and often jailed. The harassment can also include, the destruction of their churches, fines, and sometimes being sent to labor camps.

Worship is allowed only in government-controlled churches, and while many of these Catholics desire union with the pope, the government still appoints their priests and bishops.

The Cardinal Kung Foundation is named for the late Cardinal Ignatius Kung Pinmei of Shanghai, who spent 30 years in Chinese prisons and died in the United States in 2000 at age 98.

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