Zheng Ding: 74-year old bishop arrested in China

Spero News gives us this story:

Elderly Catholic bishop arrested in China

Chinese officials arrived on the morning of August 24 to arrest 74 year-old Bishop Jia Zhiguo, the twelfth such arrest since 2004. His whereabouts are unknown.

By Martin Barillas

Roman Catholic Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding, Hebei province, China, was arrested again by local authorities. Bishop Jia Zhiguo belongs to the “underground” church not recognized by China’s communist government. He was arrested on the morning of August 24, the twelfth such arrest since January 2004. Zhengding is a small village situated approximately 100 miles south of Beijing. Its Roman Catholic community numbers approximately 110,000. Bishop Jia Zhiguo was consecrated bishop in 1980.

Government officials arrived in vehicles at Christ the King Cathedral at WuQiu while his current whereabouts are unknown at this time. Bishop Jia Zhiguo was last arrested in August 2007 and released four months later. The reasons for his current unrest are as yet unclear. After his release in December 2007, the bishop was consigned to house arrest and not allowed to receive visitors unaccompanied by government watchers. Police patrols prevented visitors to the bishop during his house arrest.

Bishop Jia Zhiguo is nearly 74 years old and in delicate health, according to the Cardinal Kung Foundation. During his confinement at home, his requests for medical treatment were denied by Chinese authorities. The bishop has now spent at least 18 years in prison.

There are now approximately 40 underground bishops in China. According to the Cardinal Kung Foundation, they are in prison, have disappeared, or under house arrest or surveillance. Bishop Su Zhimin of Baoding and Bishop Shi Enxiang of Yixian were arrested in October, 1997 and April 2001 respectively. There has been no news about them since then and it is not known whether they are still alive. Bishop Han DinXiang of Yong Nian, was arrested in December 1999 and died suddenly in prison on September 9, 2007 in very mysterious and suspicious circumstances. Not allowed a Catholic burial, by order of the government the bishop was cremated and buried within 6 hours of his death.

China continued to repress human rights activitists, journalists, and foreign visitors during the recently ended Olympic Games despite promises of reform. Christians whose worship is not authorized by the government face persecution. As for the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI wrote in June 2007 letter to China “Many bishops have undergone persecution and have been impeded in the exercise of their ministry, and some of them have made the Church fruitful with the shedding of their blood.”


The take from AsiaNews.

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  1. mpm says:

    I wonder if it was because he celebrated Mass with 1000 of the faithful on
    the feast of the Assumption:


  2. Scott W. says:

    Will pray for this bishop.

  3. Paul says:

    When will the world wake up and condemn China for what it is – a murderous communist regime. Sadly the West
    is more concerned with profits but we surely need a another Divini Redemptoris.

  4. Jeff Pinyan says:

    How nice of them to wait until after the Olympics were over. :|

  5. mysticalrose says:

    This is really sobering, but also a poignant reminder of what is at stake in this year of St. Paul . . .

  6. TNCath says:

    And we had the Olympics in Beijing.

    A well-known Catholic columnist wrote in a recent column, “China has never been a democracy, and it has precious little right to claim, despite all its economic progress, that it is a civilized country…”

    The author? Father Andrew Greeley.

    Prayers for this bishop. This poor man is undergoing true persecution, and we have bishops in this country who are afraid to confront those who call themselves Catholic who disagree with Church teachings. Ironic, isn’t it?

  7. Deusdonat says:

    I guess the Olympic honeymoon was over. Who woulda thought?

  8. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Glad I live in the States.
    God bless the clergy, religious, and people so willing to suffer for the Faith. May God strengthen Bishop Jia Zhiguo in perseverance.

  9. TomG says:


    Jolnir, I think most of us around here are going to ignore the substance of your rant. Fr. Greeley is right, I fear: Red China is really a benjo ditch of a country.

    (I mean, are we Westerners as clumsy and idiotic in their language as they are in ours?)

  10. Paul says:

    Congratulations Michael Phelps you’ve 8 Gold Medals and helped show the Chinese Government that human rights don’t mean a thing as long as you have a nice pool.

  11. jarhead462 says:

    Hey Jolnir,
    By your reasoning, the early martyrs should have just givin up, left the Catacombs, and fell in line with the Empire.
    Think before posting!
    God Bless This Bishop.

    Semper Fi!

  12. Michael J says:


    What has Bishop Jia Zhiguo done that can be considered subversive, and why do you think that the power and authority of the state is absolute?

  13. Michael J says:

    You mean the part of the article that states “The reasons for his current unrest are as yet unclear”?

    In any case, I am less interested in the “Chinese positions” than I am in yours. Since you chose to offer an opinion on a discussion forum, I assumed you had the desire to…um… discuss it. Since this is not the case, is it therefore safe to assume that your post was, in fact, a “rant” as a previous poster suspects?

  14. Michael J says:

    Actually you did, Jolnir. Implicit in your assertions that the Bishop “deserves to be punished” and that simply breaking a law, without regard to the justness of that law, is sufficient to incur “righteous” punishment is the belief that the state’s power is absolute.

    If you do not believe that the state’s power is absolute, why then do you state that the Bishop’s arrest and imprisonment is “righteous”. Is it simply because (and here I am going out on a limb) as an athiest you have a distaste for religeon in general?

  15. Michael J says:

    You did more than discuss the process of law though. You rendered a moral judgement about this particular application of the law. Surely the concept of justice is not uniquely Christian. So I’ll ask again, why do you say that the Bishop’s punishment is just?

  16. jarhead462 says:

    All of you are wrong.
    Jolnir is right.
    Jolnir said…..Ha.
    No need to go any further.

    Semper Fi!

  17. Tim Ferguson says:

    So, Jolnir, the concept of law is basically might makes right? China is in charge and therefore China gets to determine who does what in China? So, you would have absolutely no objection to, say, India detonating a nuclear bomb in China in order to impose its will in China and alter policies and laws to suit itself?

    That’s a pretty tragic conception of law. If there are no moral absolutes, and the one with the biggest gun gets to tell everyone what to do simply because he has the biggest gun, we seem to have slid back to prehistoric times.

    As for me and my house, I’ll be praying for Bishop Zheng and a swift end to his unjust treatment at the hands of his captors. May Christ enlighten their hearts as he did the captors of St. Paul.

  18. Michael J says:

    We’ve come full circle. Your simplistic “because China rules China” presupposes that the authority of the state is absolute. You later reinforce this by acknowledging the state’s right to punish any transgression of its laws.

    Maybe if the question is asked a different way?

    Does the state have the moral right to enforce an unjust law? Conversely, is an individual morally obligated to obey an unjust law?

  19. Tim Ferguson says:

    I’m well aware of the Treaty of Westphalia, but I simply don’t ascribe to it any sort of scriptural aura. The fact that the Chinese Communist Party can do within China whatever it wants because they have terrorized and brutalized the populace into submission does not make every act of the Chinese Communist Party just.

    The brutalizing and imprisonment of this man is, by any reasonable standard, unjust.

  20. Lucia says:

    “The [B]ible commands [C]hristians to honor the state in which they reside, and to give respect to the political authority that rules over them. It is the typical, expected, height of hypocrisy for the [C]hurch to pick and choose which national governments it will seek to overturn and which it will support.”

    Actually, the rule is, God’s law first, man’s law second, own will third, sinful nature never.

    And please, capitalize your proper nouns.


  21. Lucia says:

    (sorry, I wrote [ C ] and it came out as the copyright symbol!)

  22. Tim Ferguson says:

    then you need not be reminded of Humpty Dumpty’s end…

  23. Lucia says:

    Perhaps Catholic beliefs are regarded as irrelevant by secular governments–and, obviously, that makes sense. However, Catholic beliefs ARE relevant to the actions of Catholics. (Duh.) I was not clarifying our beliefs to admonish China, I was clarifying them for you. Do you understand what we believe now?

    Thanks, have a great day.


  24. josh says:

    This is very sad news. To hear the trials of these heroes is inspiring and humbling to say the least.I was only yesterday reading about St. Augustine Zhao Rong and the Martyrs of China.
    Thanks Fr Z for putting this article up, we really don’t hear enough of what goes on in China.

  25. Jordanes says:

    Jolnir said: There’s an old poem that advises not to bandy words with a foolish person.

    Good advice for anyone who might consider attempting to discuss this matter with you. I suppose it’s possible you may seriously believe the absurd, unmoored-from-reality things you’ve been posting here, but somehow I doubt you’re really willing to live and die by your words. When the State comes for you and your loved ones, I rather suspect you’re not going to pledge your faith to the principle that simply because the State thinks you are a threat, it is justified in violating your rights. The State was made for man, not man for the State.

  26. Therese says:

    A 74-year-old man who does nothing all day long but provide the sacraments and care for his flock (110,000 in the vicinity of a small village?), and who possesses “delicate health” the report adds, is a danger to the great totalitarian state of China. How they must quake in their jackboots at the sight of him!

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