This is not the first time that the police have arrested Bishop Shao and made him disappear for months. The authorities are trying to brainwash him into accepting directives from patriotic religious organizations under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The Bishop of Wenzhou is recognized by the Pope but not by the Party, which claims to have control over all religious activities.
“The kidnappings of Bishop Shao are almost scientific. They always occur on the eve of important periods in the life of the Catholic communities: Christmas, Easter, the Assumption and now November, the month of prayer for the dead (in Chinese tradition, Qingming, the remembrance of the ancestors, is instead celebrated in spring).”
“In November many masses are celebrated for the dead, accompanied by meetings, rosaries, and prayers. In Zhejiang the percentage of Christians is over 10%. The faithful of Wenzhou are very zealous, and every year at this time they go to the cemetery where Msgr. James Lin Xili, the first local bishop, rests. Ordained in 1992 by Pope John Paul II, Bishop Lin was an underground bishop, not recognized by the Chinese regime. In 1999, the authorities arrested him and then kept him under control until his death in 2009.”
In recent years, authorities have banned access to Wenzhou cemetery by putting up iron fences to prevent Catholic believers from congregating. This year, they took Bishop Shao directly.
The Party-imposed “new regulations on religious activities,” which came into effect in February 2018, only allow religious activities – including theology classes – to be held in places registered and controlled by the government. Religious personnel can only perform their duties if they are affiliated with the official Church and subordinate to the CCP.
The Sino-Vatican agreement on the appointment of bishops that was signed in 2018, and renewed in October 2020, has not prevented the persecution of Chinese Catholics, especially those who are unofficial.
Bishop Jia Zhiguo is also under house arrest, other bishops have seen the water, electricity, and gas supplies to their homes cut off, such as Bishop Guo Xijin, and still others have been subjected to political indoctrination sessions, like Bishop Zhang Weizhu.
The Chinese authorities yesterday seized Bishop Shao Zhumin from Wenzhou (Zhejiang). Asianews has learned from local sources that the bishop has been officially taken away “on vacation.” This is not the first time that the dictatorship has tried to subjugate this faithful bishop.