Wenzhou (AsiaNews) – Mgr Peter Shao Zhumin, ordinary bishop of Wenzhou, is still in the hands of the police held at an unknown location. The report AsiaNews received two days ago was only partially right.
Three days ago, the bishop was seen at Wenzhou Airport waiting for luggage. A Catholic who was there by chance took a photo of him (pictured).
This led some Catholics to believe that the bishop had finally been brought back to his city. However, a day later, some priests in the diocese noted that the bishop had not been seen at his home.
When he was getting his luggage at the airport, the prelate was accompanied by government officers, perhaps plain-clothes police, who drove him in a Volkswagen, not home, but to an unknown location.
Bishop Shao, 54, belongs to Wenzhou’s unofficial Catholic community, which is not recognised by the government. He is the ordinary bishop of the local diocese. He was taken on 18 May by police and was held for almost a month until he was seen at the airport.
It is thought that his absence, like previous disappearances, was part of an attempt to persuade him to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association so that he can be under its control. For the latter, “underground” bishops are regarded as “unreliable”.
According to the latest data, provided by local priests, the diocese of Wenzhou has about 130,00 members, more than 80,000 in the unofficial community. However, once troubled, relations between the two communities are now good.