Chinese Priest: “There is no positive outcome in the agreement with the Vatican”

Concern continues over the fate of the Bishop of Xinxiang. The Communist authorities arrested him last May.

Newsroom (August 06, 2021, 12:23 PM, Gaudium Press) As concern grows over the situation of the Bishop of Xinxiang, Monsignor Joseph Zhang Weizhu, information information is still coming out about the government’s ongoing persecution of Catholics who refuse to submit to the Communist dictatorship.

Bishop Joseph Zhang Weizhu and ten priests were taken prisoner between May 20 and 21. Then, they transferred them to a place of solitary confinement and subjected them to “political sessions,” Asia News reported at the time.

Bishop Joseph Zhang Weizhu, 63, has been bishop of the Xinxiang (Henan) diocese since 1991; but, the Chinese government does not recognize him. Other priests also refuse to join the Chinese Communist Party, as is required by China’s new religious affairs regulations. These detained priests and some seminarians have already been released.

The police operation to arrest the bishop and priests included 100 officers in Cangzhou, Hejian, and Shaheqiao. In addition, they also arrested ten theology students who were taking classes in a factory set up by a Catholic.

Zhang had known communist detention centers in the past, which he had been in and out of several times. He was forbidden to supervise the finances and resources of his diocese. In 2010, the government forced the bishop to accept a state administrator to supervise the diocese and report to state authorities. Catholic schools and daycare centers in the Xinxiang diocese were closed last year.

An anonymous priest speaks out

Forced to enroll in communist registries, numerous priests have made use of conscientious objection. According to a report by Bitter Winter magazine (specializing in religious freedom and human rights), an anonymous Chinese priest said that this objection had become a serious phenomenon. He also said that “we are not seeing a positive result from the agreement with the Vatican.”

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“We pray for the Pope every day, but we believe that he has received false information about China. We will not join the Patriotic Church,” the priest stated.

Bishop Zhang’s detention has already raised unease. And last June, Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the French Bishops’ Conference, expressed his “deep concern” over the arrest of the Chinese bishop. So far, there have been no similar comments from the Vatican.

With information from Infocatolica

Compiled by Ena Alfaro

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