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Shaanxi bishop in custody for over a month

ICC Note: Martin Wu has been missing for over a month now. Many feel he is in captivity and trying to be forced to give up his diocese

4/25/07 China For full story…..(AsiaNews) – Mgr Martin Wu Qinjing, bishop of Zhouzhi ( Shaanxi ), has been held by police and the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association for over a month. Many faithful claim that he is being subjected to endless political sessions to force him to give up his diocese.

The bishop was forcibly taken form his church on March 17. His whereabouts are not known, local sources said, but he is thought to be in either Lintong or Xian for on a ‘study retreat.’ Contacts with the faithful or any priests from his diocese are prohibited.

Mgr Wu Qinjing is a bishop with the official Church. He was consecrated in 2005 to replace the late Mgr Anthony Li Duan, archbishop of Xian. Although his appointment was approved by the Vatican , his leadership is not recognized by the government-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, an organization that seeks to build a Church independent of Rome . For this organization Bishop Wu’s ordination was illegal because he had violated a regulation that bans religious bodies from being controlled by “foreign influences.”

In reality, the Patriotic Association opposes Bishop Wu because it had another, more compliant candidate that had already done various economic favors to the organization.

According to a government document released on March 9, Bishop “Wu Qinjing should not run any church affairs as a bishop and should not interfere with the Zhouzhi diocese management.”

The document said the government had been “educating” Bishop Wu since May last year but added that the bishop was still “brazenly conducting illegal religious activities.”

In September of last year, the bishop was detained for a few days because he dared to celebrate a mass wearing the bishop’s skullcap.

Even when he is not in detention his services are constantly interrupted.