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06/15/2019 China (International Christian Concern) — China is prohibiting a public funeral and Christian burial for the recently deceased bishop of Tianjin, who has been under house arrest since 1992. Msgr. Stefano Li Side was placed under house arrest for refusing to place his church under the authority of China’s Patriotic Association. Prior to this arrest, he was subjected to 17 years of forced labor camps.  

The bishop passed away on June 8th, but has not yet been buried. China refuses to allow the bishop’s burial in the Catholic cemetery and is not allowing the church to host a public funeral. Some underground priests were allowed to briefly pray over the bishop in the funeral parlor, but on Monday were then prohibited from participating in mass.

The diocese of the bishop is composed of approximately 100 thousand Christians. They are shepherded by 40 official and 20 underground priests. The Chinese government is using the funeral of the bishop as yet another attempt to control the diocese and force them into compliance with the authorities’ hardline stance which heavily restricts the practice of Christian faith.

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