Home News Chinese authorities re-arrest 61-year-old Catholic bishop 

Chinese authorities re-arrest 61-year-old Catholic bishop 

Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou on Jan 2. was arrested again by Chinese security forces in the eastern province of Zhejiang, according to an AsiaNews report.

Bishop Shao, who is not officially recognized by the Chinese government, has faced routine arrests by local authorities as they seek to prevent him from carrying out his ministry within the vibrant local Catholic community. 

The recent arrest has heightened concerns among the faithful, who are uncertain about the duration and location of his detention.

Sources indicate that Bishop Shao was taken into custody on Jan. 2 and was ordered to prepare for all seasons, suggesting a potentially prolonged detention. 

The prelate, ordained as coadjutor bishop with a papal mandate in 2011, succeeded Bishop Vincent Zhu Wei-Fang in 2016 but has consistently refused to join official bodies imposed by the Chinese government on the Catholic community. 

Due to his lack of recognition by authorities, the Chinese government considers his post as sede. Father Ma Xianshi, a member of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, was appointed by the government to oversee the diocese.

Bishop Shao’s frequent detentions during festivities aim to prevent him from leading public celebrations in a city often referred to as the “Jerusalem of the East” due to its numerous churches.

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This year’s events took a different turn as Bishop Shao was briefly detained a few days before Christmas, and released two days later. 

Despite being taken to Taishun County on December 24 and 25 to prevent him from celebrating Christmas Mass, he reported experiencing one of the most peaceful Christmases in recent memory.

The recent arrest followed a letter dated December 31, in which Bishop Shao expressed his concerns to Father Ma about decisions affecting the diocese being made without his authority. 

The letter, made public by the bishop, outlined issues such as parish changes, priest transfers, and the downgrading of the Diocese of Lishui without proper authorization.

Bishop Shao’s arrest appears to be a consequence of this letter, triggering a strong reaction from “official” Church bodies in Wenzhou, reportedly behind the prelate’s detention.

“Now, the faithful are praying for him, asking the Lord to bring him back to his community as soon as possible,” said an AsiaNews source. 

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