Global News - Redeem the Oppressed

Chinese Bishop Missing For Over A Year

Whereabouts of a detained Chinese bishop still remain a mystery even after a year has passed after he was arrested.  Bishop Joseph Zhang Weizhu of Xinxiang, who was approved of the Vatican, was arrested on May 21st, last year and no one knows where he has been kept after his arrest.

Bishop Joseph Zhang Weizhu was arrested for allegedly violating China’s regulations on religious affairs. About a year ago the authorities unleashed a crackdown against the catholic priests, seminaries and schools etc. This came after the communist government slapped a ban upon education by religious groups.

In keeping with this ban, the authorities in Xinxiang shut down Catholic schools and kindergarten. Catholic priests and seminarians from a Catholic seminary in the diocese were rounded up. Media reported that all those arrested were accused of violating the country’s regulations on religious affairs. 63-year-old Bishop Zhang, was among those who were arrested in this regard.

A magazine covering religious liberty and human rights claimed that Bishop Zhang has been targeted and oppressed by the officials because he refused their demand to join the government-controlled Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China and Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.

It was later revealed that the Vatican asked the communist regime to release Bishop Zhang, however, the authorities responded in negative claiming that the bishop had committed serious crimes and that he must remain in detention. This was not the first time that Bishop Zhang was arrested. Since 1991, when he was ordained with a Vatican mandate secretly, Bishop Zhang has been under the radar of the Chinese authorities. He was barred from carrying out his duties and arrested on several occasions but was later released. Referring to the Christian persecution, China occupies seventeenth position in Open Doors’ list of countries where Christians are persecuted most.

By Farrukh Saif

Farrukh Saif is a Pakistani human rights activist based in Germany. He founded his own organization, the Farrukh Saif Foundation (FSF), in 2009 with the goal of supporting marginalized and oppressed minorities in Pakistan who are affected by religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, forced conversions, abductions, rape, and bonded slavery. The main focus of the FSF is on the liberation of bonded laborers, particularly those working in brick kilns in rural areas of Pakistan. In 2018, the FSF merged with the US-based Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved. Throughout his career, Farrukh has been a leading voice for the rights of minorities in Pakistan and has gained international attention for his campaigns against the misuse of blasphemy laws and the belief that asylum is not a crime. In 2014, he played a key role in the release of hundreds of asylum seekers from Thai jails and has worked with his legal team to save numerous victims of strict blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Farrukh has also been invited by the Hungarian government to discuss his work and the issues he addresses. In addition to his work with the FSF, Farrukh has also been involved in various other humanitarian efforts, including providing health care services to internally displaced persons in Khayber Pakhtoon Khawa in 2009 and assisting flood victims in Sindh and Punjab in 2010. He has worked to aid victimized minorities in Pakistan and has a strong track record of successfully advocating for their rights. Farrukh joined forces with Keith Davies in 2018 to co-found the Emergency Committee to Save The Persecuted and Enslaved, and since 2009, they have collectively successfully rescued more than 36000 individuals from slavery and persecution.