Chinese Bishop Arrested for 6th Time Since Early '04

Julius Jia Zhi Guo Taken Away to Unknown Location

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ZHENG DING, China, JULY 5, 2005 ( For the sixth time in a year and a half, Bishop Julius Jia Zhi Guo of the underground Catholic Church was arrested by government officials, says a U.S.-based watchdog group.

Bishop Jia was arrested at his house in the Diocese of Zheng Ding, in Hebei province, on Monday afternoon and driven away to an unknown location, according to the Connecticut-based Cardinal Kung Foundation.

Government officials telephoned Bishop Jia in advance, notifying him that he was being picked up and ordering him to tell the people that he was being taken away to visit a physician. The bishop is not sick at present, and has no need of medical care, the Kung Foundation said.

Bishop Jia, 71, was previously in prison for some two decades and has been under strict surveillance for many years.

As «non-official» bishop of Zheng Ding, he has headed one of the liveliest dioceses of Hebei, the province with the largest concentration of Catholics, numbering some 1.5 million.

This is the sixth time that Bishop Jia has been arrested since January 2004. The first time was on April 5, 2004, when a car with four government security policemen suddenly appeared at his residence and took him away with no explanations.

Immediately after the arrest, which lasted until April 14, Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls described the detention as inadmissible in a state of law, since no juridical reasons were given.

The underground Church in China, which professes loyalty to Rome, does not have Beijing’s approval.

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