The Chinese government has detained a Catholic priest, Bishop Pietro Shao Zhumin for resisting demands to join China’s Communist Party-controlled church body.
A Catholic news service reports that Bishop Zhumin’s detention was against recent moves by Beijing and the Holy See toward reconciliation.
Asia News reported that the bishop dropped out of sight several days ago, but gave no details other than saying he had been subjected to “dozens of days of indoctrination as in the times of the Cultural Revolution,” a reference to Mao Zedong’s radical 1966-76 attack on traditional Chinese culture, religion and the intelligentsia.
He was appointed by the pope in 2016 and posted to the southeastern city of Wenzhou, which has a large Christian community.
The bishop’s arrest follows a breakthrough agreement to give Chinese authority a say over the appointment of bishops that critics called a cave-in to the ruling party just as it is waging a sweeping crackdown on religion.