(Beijing—July 17, 2020) A Chinese bishop has been missing for more than 17 years. He has been suspected dead after China started advocating for his replacement.
Just recently, the Chinese Communist Party began pressing the Vatican to appoint Bishop Francis An Shuxin as a replacement for Bishop James Su Zhimin. This has led his supporters to fear Su has died.
Su was last seen at a Catholic hospital 17 years ago. Since then, no one has been able to contact or locate him.
Six years before his hospitalization, Su was accused of performing “unregistered” religious activities. He had refused to allow his church to join China’s network of state-run Catholic churches, the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.
In China, it is illegal to operate a religious organization outside of the state’s control. Authorities subsequently arrested him.
Prior to Su’s arrest, An served as his assistant. An was also arrested in 1996, but he was released 10 years later. Just before his release, he had agreed to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.