Urumqi (Agenzia Fides) - On August 14, at 8:25 am, at the age of 86, His Exc. Msgr. Paolo Xie Tingzhe, Bishop/Apostolic Prefect of Xinjiang-Urumqi, in Xinjiang (Mainland China), passed away in the town of Urumqi. He was born on January 2, 1931 in the city of Lanzhou, province of Gansu, from a Catholic family.
Since childhood he had shown the desire to consecrate himself to God. After completing primary school, in 1945 he entered the minor Seminary in Lanzhou and in 1950 he was admitted to the major seminary where he remained until 1958 when it was closed due to the «cultural revolution». In 1961 he was arrested and confined, until the end of 1979, to a forced labor camp in Urumqi.
Shortly after his release, in February 1980, when he was 49, he was ordained a priest for the diocese of Fengxiang, in Shaanxi, by Bishop Msgr. Zhou Weidao. The years of his priestly ministry saw him engaged in the work of evangelization which he carried out with great zeal, for the development of the Church, and for the formation of candidates to priesthood. On 25 November 1991 he was ordained Bishop/Apostolic Prefect of Xinjiang-Urumqi.
He had always shown great love for God and the Apostolic See, even in the long years of confinement, resisting compromises and threats. He carried out the episcopal ministry in a predominantly Muslim territory, with its difficulties.
The funeral Mass was celebrated on August 16, followed by the burial of the ashes in the cemetery of Dongshan. The Apostolic Prefecture of Xinjiang-Urumqi, already mission of the Verbite Fathers (S.V.D.), has 21 parishes, 23 diocesan priests, 2 communities of religious women, 1 home for the elderly and about 10,000 faithful. (Agenzia Fides, 6/10/2017)