Chinese Bishop Released After Holy Week

ROME, APRIL 19, 2004 ( Chinese authorities released the bishop of Zheng Ding Diocese whose arrest had sparked a protest from the Holy See.

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After the April 5 arrest of Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo, Catholic faithful appealed to the police for his release, so that he could preside at Holy Week services, AsiaNews reported. He was released a few days after Easter.

After the initial arrest, Vatican press office director Joaquín Navarro-Valls said in a statement that this type of arrest “is not admissible in a state of law that says it guarantees ‘the freedom of religion’ and ‘respects and protects human rights.'”

A bishop since 1980, the 69-year-old prelate has lived virtually all his episcopal ministry under house arrest.

Bishop Jia heads the Diocese of Zheng Ding, one of the most active in Hebei province.

On March 5, Bishop Wei Jingyi of the Qiqihar Diocese was arrested at an airport in Heilogjiang, when he arrived there to meet some foreign friends. He was released on March 14 after the Holy See protested.

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