ASIA/CHINA - In life and in death Bishop Giovanni Han Dingxiang suffered for the cause of the Gospel

Monday, 8 October 2007

Yongnian (Agenzia Fides) - Bishop Giovanni Han Dingxiang, of the diocese of Yongnian (Yungnien/Handan) in the mainland China province of Hebei died on September 9 at the age of 68. He was born on 17 May 1939. Ordained a priest on 21 November 1986, he was made a Bishop on 14 November 1989. He spent more than 20 years of his life in prison. Since the beginning of 2006 the Bishop had, so to say, “disappeared” and no one knew where he was detained in isolation. The news of his death comes as a surprise to all since no one knew he was ill or suffering from any disease. What happened after his death caused sadness and regret. The bishop died around midnight and by 7am the next morning his body had already been cremated and buried without any religious rite and without any of his priests or faithful being allowed to render homage to the deceased Bishop. The place where he is buried is said to be closely guarded by the police but no one can prevent the faithful from rendering homage to witnesses such as Bishop Han, who suffered for the Gospel in life and in death. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 8/10/2007; righe 14, parole 207)