Catholic World News

Two Chinese ‘underground’ bishops, veterans of prison camps, have died

August 14, 2017

Two elderly bishops of China’s “underground” Catholic Church—both of whom had served years in prison camps—died this past weekend.

Bishop Sylvester Li Jiantang, the retired head of the Taiyuan diocese, died on August 13 at the age of 93. Ordained in 1956, he was imprisoned from 1966 until 1980. He became Bishop of Taiyuan in 1994, serving until his retirement in 2013. But he was never recognized as a bishop by the Beijing government.

Bishop Paul Xie Tingzhe died on August 14 at the age of 86. As a seminarian, he refused to join the government-backed Catholic Patriotic Association, and was imprisoned from 1960 to 1980. Upon his release he was ordained to the priesthood. In 1991, he was secretly ordained Bishop of Urumqi. Again, he was never recognized by the government as a bishop.


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