Chinese Catholics call for the release of an illegally detained bishop

ROME — May 21 marks the first anniversary of the illegal arrest of Xinxiang Bishop Joseph Zhang Weizhu, and local faithful are calling for his release.

As reported by Breitbart News, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials arrested the Bishop of Xinxiang on May 21, 2021, along with 10 priests and 10 seminarians, in an effort to exert additional pressure on the Church. illegal underground catholic.

Police first took the bishop and priests to a hotel where they were kept in solitary confinement and subjected to “political sessions” to indoctrinate them with the CCP’s understanding of religious freedom, a report said. ‘AsiaNews, the official news agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.

The seminarians were released after three days and the priests followed several days later, but Bishop Zhang is still being held by the police, illegally detained without charge or trial at an unknown location. Chinese law states that no one can be held in solitary confinement without charge for more than three months.

Two family members were allowed to see the bishop for a few minutes during Lunar New Year celebrations, but no one knows where he is being held and priests are not allowed to visit or call him.

AsiaNews reported that the Catholic community in Xinxiang still hopes for the release of its bishop, while growing increasingly worried about his physical and mental health.

The Vatican has apparently made no appeal for Bishop Zhang’s release.

When Hong Kong police arrested Cardinal Joseph Zen – Asia’s leading Catholic prelate – on May 11, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin expressed his “closeness” to Cardinal Zen, but was quick to insist that the arrest should not be construed as “a disavowal”. of the provisional agreement between the Holy See and the CCP on the appointment of bishops.

“The most concrete hope is that initiatives like this will not complicate the already complex and not simple path of dialogue,” Cardinal Parolin said.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Zen (pictured) has been released on bail, but his travel documents are said to have been confiscated.


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