Shao Zhumin has disappeared four times since Vatican confirmed him as head of Wenzhou diocese,
A Chinese bishop who was arrested just before Easter has suddenly shown up in a Beijing hospital.
According to ucanews.com, this is the fourth time Bishop Shao Zhumin has disappeared since the Vatican confirmed him last September as head of the Diocese of Wenzhou, in China’s eastern Zhejiang Province.
Using a WeChat account, the bishop said he was in the hospital to have ear surgery on September 11. He asked that he have no visitors but requested prayers.
“Many thanks for all who pray for me, especially for the smoothness of my surgery today,” said Bishop Shao’s WeChat account.
An ecclesiastical source told ucanews.com that a photo taken of the bishop a few days earlier and shared on social media was taken at Beijing Tongren Hospital where the bishop was to have ear surgery. The source was not able to say whether the bishop remained under state control.
In an ominous-sounding statement, the source then said, “He needs to take half year to recuperate after the surgery as there is something installed in his head.”
The government has urged Bishop Shao to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, a church-like organization that is independent of the Holy See and appoints its own bishops.
The Vatican issued a statement on June 26, saying it was saddened with the situation of the disappearance of Bishop Shao.
The upcoming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which beings October 18, is widely expected to tighten restrictions on the practice of religion in the Middle Kingdom, ucanews also reported.
“In the past, religious officials have turned a blind eye to trivial things in the Church, but now they are being supervised very strictly, even very small things are not let go, so the current development of religious affairs in China is indeed worrying,” Anthony Lam Sui-ki, executive secretary of the Holy Spirit Study Center in Hong Kong told the news agency.