An underground Catholic bishop is thought to be on the run from Chinese security agents after refusing to sign up to a government sanctioned 'independent church
The country is home to around 12 million Catholics - split between the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (PA) and an underground church loyal to the Vatican.
According to Catholic Asia News, Msgr Vincenzo Guo Xijin was held in custody by state agents and blackmailed to join an independent church in exchange for government recognition, without which his ministry would be forbidden.
Underground Catholics contest the "independence" of these state churches and their detachment from the Holy See and the universal Church.
Msgr Guo fled from police custody last week and maintains his refusal to a forced membership to the PA.
Previously, Msgr Guo was the ordinary bishop of the Diocese of Mindong, recognized by the Holy See, but not by the government.
After the Vatican signed a deal with Beijing last year which allowed both parties as say in the ordination of bishops, Msgr Guo accepted a demotion to auxiliary bishop.
Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.
A Monthly Gift Of £5 Makes A World Of Difference
In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.
Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.
For a monthly gift of £5 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.
Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.Set up a monthly gift