Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. - The Cardinal Kung Foundation, based in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, reported today the re-arrest of Bishop Su Zhimin, the underground Roman Catholic Bishop of Baoding, Hebei in China. Bishop Su was re-arrested at noon on October 8, 1997 in the city of Xinji, Hebei, about 280 km south of Beijing. He was brought back to Baoding where he is currently in the custody of the Public Security Bureau.
Bishop Su along with his auxiliary Bishop An Shuxin, many of his priests, religious and lay leaders were originally arrested in Donglu village near Baoding in May 1996 when the National Shrine for Our Lady of China in Donglu was destroyed and leveled by the Chinese government. However, Bishop Su was able to go into hiding at various places for 17 months until he was hunted down and re-arrested three days ago by the Public Security Bureau.
While Bishop Su was in hiding, he issued an open appeal to the Government to stop the religious persecution in China. Cardinal Kung Foundation on August 12, 1996 released this appeal.
Bishop Su is a prominent leader of the underground church. He is the only underground bishop who has met with a senior U.S. government official. Almost four years ago in January 1994, U.S. House Representative Christopher Smith (4th NJ) met privately with Bishop Su. He was immediately arrested after the departure of Representative Smith.
The underground Roman Catholic Church is illegal in China since 1957 when the Chinese Government established its own "Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA)" in order to replace the Roman Catholic Church in China. CCPA is autonomous from the Pope while the underground Catholic Church is totally loyal and obedient to the Pope.
The Mass, prayer services and even praying over the dying are considered subversive activities of the underground Catholic Church because they are conducted without the government's permission. These activities are punishable by exorbitant fines, detention, house arrest and sentences to jail or labor camps.
Bishop Su, 65, was previously jailed at least 5 times by the Chinese Government. He spent a total of about 20 years in jail. He was once beaten so savagely that he suffered extensive loss of hearing.
"Those who declared that the religious persecution in China as debated by the U.S. Congress and reported by the media worldwide is 'overdone', does not 'correspond with that coming from China', and is politicized to serve 'other causes' should look hard at the above arrest and be awakened to the fact that the religious persecution is tragically very much alive in China" said Joseph Kung, president of the Cardinal Kung Foundation.