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05/08/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – No one knows the whereabouts of Bishop James Su Zhimin of Baoding in Hebei province, who has been missing since 1996.

Bishop Su, an underground church clergy, was arrested in 1996 during a religious procession for conducting unregistered religious activities. The communist government saw him as a “counter-revolutionary” by for refusing to join the government-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.

He was able to escape detention in 1997 before being rearrested. His family saw him by chance in November 2003, when he was discovered at a hospital in Baoding, surrounded by police and public security. After their brief and hasty visit, he disappeared again in police custody and no one knows of his fate.

Bishop Su has been arrested at least five times in the past and has been imprisoned for more than 40 years in total.

His nephew told UCA News, “His whereabouts are unknown and I don’t even know if he is alive or not. I am upset with tears every time I think of this 87-year-old man. Please pray for him.”

Su Tianyou added that in 2015 he had met Guo Wei, a religious affairs official who was involved in China-Vatican negotiations at that time. Guo told him to wait for the warming of ties in China-Vatican relations before Bishop Su could be released.

However, even after Beijing and the Vatican signed a provisional agreement on bishop appointments last September, signaling an improvement of ties, there is still no information about Bishop Su and even more clergy have been taken away by authorities.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org.