New Chinese president played key role in Marian shrine’s approval
July 19, 2013
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who assumed office in March, played a key role two decades ago in the construction of one of the nation’s leading Marian shrines, according to the shrine’s director.
Bishop Joseph Zheng Changcheng of Fuzhou, a city of 7.2 million in southeastern China, began construction of the shrine in 1993. The bishop, who was imprisoned for 28 years, exercised his ministry with the approval of both the Holy See and the Chinese government.
“Xi Jinping, then Fujian [Province]’s Communist Party Committee deputy secretary who oversaw religious affairs, showed great understanding and respect toward the elderly bishop, so the government approved the shrine in 1996,” said Sister Zheng Wenying, the shrine’s director.
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