Bishop Cui Tai: 16 years of Arrests and Releases, Faithful Call for An End to Illegal Detention

Bishop Cui was named by Pope Benedict XVI to become coadjutor bishop of Xuanhua in 2013. When Bishop Thomas Zhao Kexun died in 2018, at the age of 94, Bishop Cui succeeded him as leader of the diocese. However he has been unable to take up his post, because he remains imprisoned.

Newsroom (14/02/2023 10:34 AM, Gaudium Press) Since 2007, for almost 16 years, Bishop Augustine Cui Tai of the diocese of Xuanhua (Hebei) has been illegally detained by the authorities without any grounds or legal procedure.

In recent years, the authorities granted the bishop short visits to his elderly relatives every Spring Festival (Lunar New Year) or Mid-Autumn. Since the cleric was taken away in the spring of 2021, however, he has not returned home, and the faithful have no way of knowing anything about his welfare or whereabouts.

Bishop Cui, 71, is recognized by the Holy See, but not by the Chinese government.

In early 2013, after consultation and careful verification by the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI approved and appointed Msgr Cui as auxiliary bishop of the Xuanhua diocese. The following April he was ordained coadjutor bishop, but then Bishop Thomas (Cathedral) Zhao Kexun, the ordinary bishop, entrusted him with full authority to run the diocese.

In 2018, Bishop Zhao passed away in his hiding place at the age of 94 due to old age and physical decline. According to canon law, Bishop Cui automatically became the bishop of the diocese.

Sources note that this year coincides with the 10th anniversary of Msgr Cui’s ordination. The faithful of the diocese miss the pastor who is in prison and, although they cannot hear from the bishop, they sincerely pray every day for his salvation, hoping that he will return to them as soon as possible.

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Other sources criticise the brutality of the government authorities, who use coercive and inhuman means to treat the sick religious, just as relations between China and the Vatican are apparently improving.

The authorities are blindly adopting political and coercive pressure, with no attitude of dialogue as equals and no sincere intention of solving the problems. Sources hope that more people will pay attention to and understand the current situation of the Chinese Church and call on the authorities to end the illegal detention of Bishop Cui and unconditionally release the prisoner as soon as possible.

  • Raju Hasmukh with files from

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