Chinese bishop released from detention after more than seven months

Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou, China, has been released by Chinese authorities after being detained for more than seven months, reported He is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/courtesy UCAN) 

HONG KONG (CNS) -- Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou has been released by Chinese authorities after being detained for more than seven months, reported

The bishop, who has not joined government-approved associations for church officials, was released Jan. 3 and was expected to return to Wenzhou, one of China's biggest Christian cities, in late January.


A source who wanted to be unnamed told that after Bishop Shao was taken away in May, officials from Wenzhou City Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs tried to force him to sign an agreement. The agreement requested the bishop to support the State Administration for Religious Affairs and the self-election and self-ordination of bishops.

After a lot of pressure, Bishop Shao signed the agreement but added a remark that he did not agree with the terms, the source said.

"What the government is doing is like the Cultural Revolution, arresting you and forcing you to sign documents to support the authority," the source said.

Bishop Shao was taken from his diocese May 18, his fourth detention since he was confirmed as a bishop in September 2016.

"However, it was the first time that officials from Wenzhou City Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs were involved to arrest him; while only national security officials did so in the past," the source said.

The reason for the detention is still a mystery, but it is believed that a new director of Wenzhou Provincial Administration for Religious Affairs wanted to resolve "problems" concerning Bishop Shao, by getting him to join the State Administration for Religious Affairs, reported.

As of Jan. 10, Bishop Shao was staying in a Catholic's home in Xining, 1,500 miles away from Wenzhou, and was scheduled to travel to Beijing for a hearing check Jan. 22 before returning home.

Bishop Shao has a congenital ear disease. Last September, during his detention, he had ear surgery in Beijing.

Last June, the Vatican said it was saddened by the disappearance of Bishop Shao. The German government also publicly expressed the hope that the bishop would be released.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

More: Asia

The latest from america

Father Michael Nixon and parishioner work a volunteer table at St. Dominic Catholic Church in Panama City, Fla. Photo by Atena Sherry.
Much like New Orleans’ Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina, the low-income neighborhoods east of Panama City, where St. Dominic is located, were especially hard-hit by the storm. Now residents here are desperate for help.
Atena SherryOctober 18, 2018
“I believe there are adequate, alternative options for true women’s health care out there, and Planned Parenthood is not needed,” said Alisha Fox, a health and wellness coach at a Catholic fertility center in Chicago.
Colleen ZeweOctober 18, 2018
 Ethiopian Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel of Addis Ababa checks out the name badge of Nathanael Lamataki, a youth delegate from the French territory of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, as they leave a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Cardinal Souraphiel highlighted the role globalization plays in connecting young people in unjust ways.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 18, 2018
The pope said he would visit North Korea “if an official invitation arrives.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 18, 2018