Back in 1997, Underground Bishop James Su Zhimin from the Diocese of Baoding in China was arrested for having refused to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA). The CCPA or 中国天主教爱国会, is a state organization monitored by the Religious Affairs Bureau of the People’s Republic of China to monitor the Catholics in the country’s mainland.
However, this was not the only time the bishop was arrested. All in all, according to the Human Rights Commission of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Bishop has already spent 40 years behind bars, “without charge, without trial”. Tagged as a counterrevolutionary for not joining the CCPA, he spent decades inside prisons, or in forced labor camps.
Su Tianyou, his nephew, met with Chinese official Guo Wei in 2015, who informed him that the bishop might be released should there be a progress in the relations between Vatican and China.
His family’s last unexpected sighting of him was in 2003, where they discovered him in a Baoding hospital by chance. The vicinity was surrounded by tight security and police.
It has been 13 years since this sighting, and Bishop James Su Zhimin is now feared to be no longer alive, even by his family.
“His whereabouts are unknown and I don’t even know if he is alive or not. I am upset with tears every time I think of this 87-year-old man. Please pray for him.” – Su Tianyou