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Catholic Bishop of Chinese Underground Church Dies at 94

Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang Imprisoned in Secret Detention Facility for 14 Years Prior to Death

A Chinese Bishop of the underground Church who was arrested 14 years ago and held in a secret location has died.

According to UCA News, the great-niece of Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang of Yxian said she was informed of his death by Baoding city officials on Friday, though she was not informed of the day and cause of his death.

“We are now waiting for the prelate, whether it be his body or ashes, to be returned to Shizhuang, our hometown, before we decide what to do next,” she said. “My parents and the bishop’s other siblings are particularly sad. They had been unsuccessfully trying to discover his whereabouts for many years. Now the answer to their questions is that he is dead.”

Government officials have not informed the family if and when they would return the late bishop’s body to his family. Another bishop of Baoding, Bishop James Zu Zhimin, still remains imprisoned in a secret detention facility, following his arrest in 1997.

Born in 1921, Bishop Shi was ordained to the priesthood in 1947. He was first in 1954, and later one served time at a labor camp from 1957-1980. Ordained secretly as a bishop in 1982, he was then made ordinary of the diocese of Yixian in 1995.

He was again arrested in 1989 and released 4 years later after mounting international pressure on the Chinese government. He was arrested for the last time on Good Friday, 2001.

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