Chinese Bishop Jia Released

ZHENG DING, China, JULY 27, 2005 ( Bishop Julius Jia Zhi Guo of the underground Catholic Church has been released, after a five-day detention, says a U.S.-based watchdog group.

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The bishop’s release was confirmed Tuesday by Joseph Kung, president of the Connecticut-based Cardinal Kung Foundation. He said no further details were given.

Two security officials arrested the bishop the morning of July 18, the second time in a month that he had been taken from his home in the Diocese of Zheng Ding, in the province of Hebei.

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 arrest marks the seventh one since January 2004.

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

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