Chicoms arrest Catholic bishop

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Monsignor Julius Jia Zhi Guo, the Roman Catholic bishop of Zhengding, Red China, was jailed by government agents yesterday for the sixth time in the last 18 months. (Via Catholic World News, via Christian Persecution Blog.)

Government officials had warned the churchman in advance of the arrest and had ordered him to tell people that he was being taken away for medical tests. Msgr Jia is currently not ill, nor is he in need of any medical treatment.

Msgr Jia has been a bishop since 1980 and has already spent 20 years in prison. His is one of the most vivacious dioceses in Hebei, the area with the highest concentration of Catholics, some 1.5 million. He lives almost constantly under house arrest. Not being recognized by the government, he is technically not allowed to exercise his ministry. For this reason, prior to important religious celebrations (Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Pentecost, the Feast of the Assumption), he is taken into custody and forced to undergo indoctrination sessions, to prevent celebrations and gatherings by underground Christians. At other times, such as important Party meetings or visits from foreign heads of state and other prominent figures, he is segregated to some secret location. In 1999, to thwart his activities in evangelization, the police tried to close down an orphanage for abandoned and handicapped children. Authorities, however, had to backtrack on their intent, due to international pressure. The bishop shares his home with some 100 disabled children whom he supports at his own expense.

China has an officially recognized Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association which is controlled by the state and is not in communion with Rome. Since China is a totalitarian state, anything it doesn't ultimately control is illegal, so Catholics loyal to the Vatican must operate underground. The Chicoms have also set up an official Protestant organization known as the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. (That's not a trinitarian reference -- it refers to self-governing, self-supporting, self-propagating, i.e., no foreign involvement or influence.) Evangelicals who operate outside the officially recognized church are also subject to persecution.

The need to persecute and suppress betrays the ultimate weakness of Chinese Communism. How strong can a system be if it feels threatened by the existence of an orphanage?

Thank God and pray for Bishop Jia and for all those in Red China who suffer for the sake of Christ.


uncle jim said:

thanks for these kinds of updates - we seem to miss them in the msm, either by their ommission or by their placement.

[sorry for the date late post; just haven't been over to you a lot lately]

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 5, 2005 8:52 PM.

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