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Chinese ‘underground’ bishop released, but still under police control

October 11, 2016

Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin, the “underground” bishop who was taken into custody by Chinese officials in September, has been released but remains under tight restrictions, the AsiaNews service.

Bishop Shao, the coadjutor bishop of Wenzhou, was taken away from the diocese as Bishop Vincent Zhu Weifang neared death after a long struggle with cancer. Government officials said that Bishop Shao had been given a “vacation tour” of northwest China. But local Catholics were convinced that he had been removed from the scene so that he could not preside at Bishop Zhu’s funeral.

As coadjutor, Bishop Shao was designated by the Vatican as Bishop Zhu’s successor, and in announcing the latter’s death, the Vatican confirmed that Bishop Shao now “succeeds the deceased prelate.” However, the government does not recognize Bishop Shao, and is evidently blocking him from assuming his new office.

AsiaNews reports that although Bishop Shao has returned to the diocese, he “cannot perform his pastoral functions and is subject to police control.”

 
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