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01/17/2020 China (International Christian Concern) – Underground bishop Guo Xijin from the Mindong diocese in Fujian province has been made homeless and is sleeping on the doorstep of his residence in Luojiang, following an eviction order sent yesterday for him and for the priests who work and live with him.

AsiaNews reports that all electricity and water supplies were cut from the building yesterday prior to eviction. Officially, the eviction is dictated for security reasons. A sign placed in front of the convent explains that the building – built with permits over 10 years ago – does not follow the fire regulations and must therefore be closed. In reality, the police operation is a sign of discontent and an attempt to pressure the bishop and his priests who refuse to register to be part of the state-vetted Church.

Bishop Guo is one of the “victims” of the Sino-Vatican agreement, signed in October 2018. Following the agreement and the lifting of the excommunication from the official bishop Vincenzo Zhan Silu, at the request of Pope Francis, Bishop Guo agreed to be demoted to auxiliary bishop to leave the ordinary seat to Bishop Zhan.

Last November, Guo was on the run from Chinese police after refusing to bring his church into a Catholic association approved by the ruling Chinese Communist Party. He fled the custody of state security police who had him under close guard for nearly a week and returned home to Luojiang on November 15.

For Bishop Guo’s persisted resistance to be part of the state-vetted Church (independent from the Holy See), he has been repeatedly harassed and threatened. Now the distressed Chinese government decided to downgrade him to the status of homeless and migrant.

Many priests who refuse to register have encountered the same oppression. In recent days at least five parishes have also been closed for reasons of “fire safety standards”. These would include two large parishes: Fuan, with over 10,000 parishioners and Saiqi, with approximately 3,000 parishioners.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].