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Chinese bishop arrested

by Aaron James

According to AsiaNews, police detained Father Peter Shao Zhumin, from Wenzhou in the western Zheijiang Province, and transported him to north-eastern China, hundreds of miles away.

Father Paul Jiang Sunian, his secretary and also a serving priest, was also arrested and reportedly taken to the southern province of Yunnan, also hundreds of miles away.

The detentions happened after the ruling Bishop of Wenzhou, Vincent Zhu Weifang, died at age of 90 after battling cancer. In his old age and illness Father Peter had aided the bishop with his duties.

Local Christians believe Father Peter was arrested along with his colleague because of his refusal to support the state-controlled church and that the arrest was an attempt by authorities to stop Father Peter becoming the next bishop.

Father Peter is recognised by the Vatican but not by the Chinese authorities because he doesn't support the state-controlled Three Self Patriotic Movement church.

Bishop Weifang's funeral is set to be on September 13 but Chinese authorities are limiting the number of people who can attend to 400, forcing those who want to attend to get permits.

It's unclear whether Father Peter has been charged with any offence, and who will succeed as next Bishop of Wenzhou.

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