Jailed Chinese Bishop's unexplained death

The Vatican has expressed concern over the unexplained death of a jailed Chinese bishop who was quickly cremated and buried by Chinese authorities without a religious ceremony.

Han Dinxiang, bishop in Hebei province who belonged to China's underground Catholic Church, died in custody on September 9.

The Vatican newspaper said he had suffered for his faith "in life and death", and estimated that he had been jailed for more than 20 years in total, World Wide Religious Newsreported.

"The news of his death took everyone by surprise because there was no knowledge that the prelate was sick or suffered from any illness," L'Osservatore Romano Newspaper said.

The article also expressed concern at police surveillance around Han's grave.

The Vatican has had no diplomatic relations with Beijing since 1951, two years after the Communist takeover.

The US based Cardinal Kung Foundation, which reports on China's underground church, said Han had spent the last eight years of his life in prison.

He was arrested in 1999 during a religious retreat.

The Vatican newspaper said Chinese authorities moved the jailed bishop to a secret location in 2006.

Death of jailed bishop in China concerns Vatican(World Wide Religious News, 9/10/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
The Cardinal Kung Foundation

Chinese Bishop abducted, escapes over illicit ordination (CathNews, 01/12/06)
Pro-pope bishop arrested in China(CathNews, 24/08/07)
Holy See sends envoys to Beijing for secret talks (CathNews, 19/07/06)

12 Oct 2007