Underground bishop, priest arrested by Chinese authorities

Underground bishop, priest arrested by Chinese authorities

Underground bishop, priest arrested by Chinese authorities


The Chinese Public Security and Religious Bureau arrested Bishop Jia Zhiguo, the underground bishop of the Diocese of Zheng Ding in Hebei Province, again. At press time, the reason for his arrest yesterday and his current whereabouts were not known. 

In the five days before his arrest, there was a marked increase in the number of security police that had Bishop Jia under strict 24-hour surveillance as well as police vehicles parking outside of the bishop's residence, reports the Cardinal Kung Foundation.

Anyone coming to visit the bishop was summarily arrested. A priest and a layperson were arrested and interrogated for eight hours before they were released.

Since the release of the Pope Benedict XIV’s China letter, Bishop Jia was told several times by the religious bureau that he was not allowed to publicly support and promulgate the letter.

A few days ago, the Religious Bureau forcibly put up a sign that read “The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association” on the gate of Bishop Jia’s church.

Bishop Jia is 73 years old and was ordained a bishop in 1980.  He was previously jailed for approximately 20 years and has been under strict surveillance for many years by the Chinese authorities.  According to the Cardinal Kung Foundation, he has been arrested 11 times since January 2004.

In addition, Fr. Wen Daoxiu of Beiwangli Village in Hebei province was also arrested Aug. 15, after celebrating Mass. His whereabouts and the reason of his arrest are also unknown. Father Wen is in very poor health with three partially blocked blood vessels to his heart. He is in his mid-fifties.

"It is apparent that the aforementioned actions by the Chinese government is … contrary to the spirit of the China letter issued by the Pope almost two months ago,” said Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation.

Kung also suggested that, given China’s violation of basic human rights, it should not be allowed to host the 2008 Olympics.