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Anti-China group reports arrest of bishop


Hopes for a rapprochement between Beijing and the Holy See have been set back following the arrest of an underground Catholic bishop in China, reported by the US-based Cardinal Kung Foundation.

Reuters quotes information from the Foundation indicating that "Bishop Jia Zhiguo, the underground Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Zheng Ding in Hebei province, was arrested again by two government officials at his house ... and driven away to an unknown location".

China has not had diplomatic relations with the Vatican since 1951 and believers must attend state-sanctioned churches led by bishops who pledge loyalty to Beijing. But a parallel church loyal to the Pope practises in secret.

The Foundation said Jia, 70, was arrested on Monday but did not specify on what charge.

The Vatican has regularly accused China of violating human rights and criticised the government for what it sees as the repression of religion, a charge the government denies.

Jia had previously spent 20 years in jail and had been arrested six times since January 2004, the foundation, whose mission is to promote the Roman Catholic Church in China, said.

Last month, a Catholic news agency specialising in China said the state appointment of a bishop in Shanghai had been backed by the Vatican, raising the possibility of improved ties. Chinese religious officials denied the report.

There had been hopes that the death of Pope John Paul in April could open a window for renewed diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican.

SOURCE
China, at odds with Vatican, arrests bishop - group (Reuters/The Star Malaysia 5/7/05)

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Cardinal Kung Foundation

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6 Jul 2005