Unregistered Catholic Bishop Jia Zhiguo Released

January 10, 2005

The Cardinal Kung Foundation reported on January 8 that Jia Zhiguo has been released and has returned to his home. Earlier it had reported that local religious affairs officials detained Jia Zhiguo, the unregistered Catholic bishop of Zhengding diocese in Hebei province, in Wuqiu village, Hebei, on January 5. An AFP report said that local government officials either refuse to respond to inquiries about the 69-year-old prelate or declare that Jia does not exist. One of China’s leading underground bishops, Jia Zhiguo presides over a dynamic diocese of unregistered Catholics that has long been a focus of government repression. Bishop Jia has spent a total of about 20 years in jail, and security authorities keep him under close surveillance. He was detained a number of times in 2004, prompting the Holy See to declare the Chinese government’s action against him “inadmissible in a state of law that declares it guarantees ‘freedom of religion’ and ‘respects and safeguards human rights.’”