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Chinese bishop released from Easter detention

Underground Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo from the diocese of Zhengding was released yesterday, following harsh Vatican criticism of his arrest.

AsiaNews sources in Hebei said the news was released in the community of Zhengding, even if faithful were not able to go out and meet their bishop.

"The timing and release of the bishop does not surprise us at all. We had already imagined that he would be released (just after Easter). Such forceful attempts by the government don't change our faith and our joy in the Lord's Resurrection," they said.

The bishop was arrested ten days ago and held in custody in Shijiazhuang. Police officials arrest underground priests and bishops (between Easter and Pentecost and just before Christmas) in order to prevent what they term incidents of "social disorder".

Meanwhile there are reports that an estimated 400 Christians were killed during peaceful and prayerful demonstrations in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

On Saturday, up to 400,000 Vietnamese Christians, from the Degar people, gathered in several Vietnamese cities to demonstrate against the government's refusal to allow them to follow the Christian faith freely.

The demonstrators in the cities, which included the Central Highland city of Buon Ma Thuot, were attacked by soldiers, police and other Vietnamese civilians. One report says 400 were killed. Others were shot at, beaten with electric batons, and bombarded with rocks and stones. The Barnabas Fund, which works to support Christian communities in the Islamic world, said many suffered broken bones reports the Barnabas Fund

Underground Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo released ( 14/4/04)
Hundreds of Vietnamese Christians killed at Easter (Ekklesia 13/4/04)

China arrests another Catholic bishop (CathNews 8/4/04)
The Barnabas Fund | Hundreds of Vietnamese Christians killed over Easter Weekend (13/4/04)
Montagnard Foundation | Report on the (Montagnard) Degar people who participated in the peaceful Easter demonstration in the Central Highlands of Vietnam on April 10, 2004

15 Apr 2004