Global News - Redeem the Oppressed

Mystery and Persecution: The Unresolved Detention of Bishop Joseph Zhang Weizhu in China

Over a year has passed since Bishop Joseph Zhang Weizhu of Xinxiang was detained, and his whereabouts are still unknown. Bishop Zhang, recognized by the Vatican, was taken into custody on May 21 of last year. To date, details about his location or condition remain elusive.

Bishop Zhang’s arrest is part of a broader clampdown on religious freedoms in China, where he was accused of breaching the nation’s stringent religious affairs regulations. This crackdown has particularly targeted the Catholic community, following the government’s prohibition on educational activities by religious organizations. As a result, Catholic institutions such as schools and kindergartens in Xinxiang were forcibly closed, and numerous clergy and seminarians were detained under the guise of violating these regulations. Bishop Zhang, 63, found himself among those ensnared in these sweeping actions.

Reports from a magazine dedicated to religious freedom and human rights indicate that Bishop Zhang has faced persecution by Chinese officials due to his refusal to align with the state-sanctioned Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China and the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.

Despite the Vatican’s appeals to the Chinese government for his release, the response has been dismissive, with claims of Bishop Zhang committing severe offenses justifying his continued detention. This incident is not isolated; since his secret ordination by the Vatican in 1991, Bishop Zhang has frequently clashed with Chinese authorities, leading to multiple arrests and restrictions on his ministry.

This ongoing situation underscores the larger issue of religious repression in China, which ranks as the seventeenth most challenging country for Christians, according to Open Doors—a testament to the persistent hurdles faced by the religious community within the nation.

By Max Gibson

Max Gibson, also known as Mosheh, holds a bachelor's degree in computer science and has competed on his college's crew, cross country and track and field teams. Max co-founded the College Republicans and has run successful businesses, including Apex Web Services, which serves as CTO for non-profits Farrukh Saif Foundation and 'Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved.' He has been in a leadership position in the non-profit sector since 2011. In addition to his business pursuits, Max is a combat veteran of three major wars and is known for his generosity and strong belief in God.