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ICC Note: Catholic bishops Paul Xie Tingzhe (Urumqi, Xinjiang) and Sylverster Li Jiantang (Taiyuan, Shanxi) both recently passed away. While they had similar life stories – both spent decades of their lives in forced labor camps, Li’s decision to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association set him apart in the eyes of Chinese government. This is evident even as they are being remembered. Authorities issued different orders for them, with Li being honored and celebrated, and Xie buried in a hurry­­ with high security.

08/18/2017 China (Asia News) – Rituals for the dead are a very important part of traditional Chinese culture, whose oldest religious aspect can be found in ancestor worship. However, China’s traditional culture has been overwhelmed more recently by communist ideology and a paranoia of power.

This is best exemplified in the different orders issued by the authorities and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) for the funeral of Mgr Paul Xie Tingzhe, bishop of Urumqi (Xinjiang), and that of Mgr Sylvester Li Jiantang, bishop of Taiyuan (Shanxi).

The two died 13 hours apart: the first at 8.30 am on Monday, the second at 6 pm on Sunday. Their stories are very similar. Both spent decades in forced labour camps, but the former never accepted to join the CPCA, whilst the latter did, in good faith, even though he tried to be always faithful to the precepts of evangelisation.

This difference has resulted in distinct funeral services. Mgr Xie was buried in a hurry without honours; Mgr Li was honoured in accordance with his rank.

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