Even the rebellious and outspoken Leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn capitulated from his usual maverick approach to the conventions of life and appeared in white tie and tails for the State Banquet last night in honour of the Chinese President, Xi Jinping. Even the great protesters will bend the knee before the power of the Chinese Yuan, it seems.
While the great and the good capitulate for the sake of all that lovely Chinese money, we might spare a prayer for the Christians of China, who are still suffering persecution. We hear quite a bit about the Dali Lama and political dissidents, but the fate of Christians in China is often ignored by the West.
Earlier this year the news broke of the death of Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang of Yixian (here).
Report from the Telegraph earlier this year:
A 94-year-old Chinese bishop who had been imprisoned since Good Friday 2001 has reportedly died, triggering renewed criticism of the Communist Party’s draconian curtailment of religious freedoms.
Relations of Cosmas Shi Enxiang, the underground bishop of Yixian in northeast China, were informed last Friday that he had passed away, according to UCA News, a news agency covering Catholic issues in Asia. No cause was given. He had not been seen in public since he was detained 14 years ago.
“My parents and the bishop’s other siblings are particularly sad,” Shi Chunyan, the bishop’s great niece, told the agency.
“They had been unsuccessfully trying to discover his whereabouts for many years. Now the answer to their questions is that he is dead.”
Bishop Shi, who was originally from Hebei province, was arrested in April 2001 at the Beijing home of his niece and had been held ever since in a “secret location”, according to the report
The bishop spent around half of his long life in prison or labour camps, the Catholic news agency added.
The bishop’s death means that there is now only one Chinese bishop still being held in secret detention, it added. His name is James Su Zhimin, from Baoding, a city around 90 miles from Beijing, and he has been held since October 1997.
Thaddeus Ma Daqin, the bishop of Shangahi, has been confined to a seminary outside Shanghai since using his ordination to denounce the Party's control of religion in 2012.
Cosmas Shi Enxiang was ordained as a priest in 1947, two years before Chairman Mao’s Communist Party seized power and set about jailing Christian leaders, driving out missionaries and dismantling or destroying churches.
Bishop Shi’s troubles began in 1954, three years after the officially atheist Communist Party had formally severed ties with the Vatican.
He was arrested for the first time that year and spent much of the following three decades forced to perform hard labour in Heilongjiang and Shanxi provinces, according to UCA News.
He was ordained a bishop in China’s underground Catholic church in 1982 but was imprisoned again between 1989 and 1993 before his final arrest in 2001.
Today there are an estimated 12 million Catholics in China, many of whom refuse to worship within the Communist Party controlled Catholic Patriotic Association.
Members of China’s underground Catholic church have found themselves affected by the “anti-church” campaign currently sweeping Zhejiang province.
Last May government officials were accused of unleashing demolishing teams on statues depicting Biblical scenes at a site of Catholic pilgrimage in the city of Wenzhou, which has a large Christian community. Hundreds of Protestant churches have suffered partial or total destruction because of the campaign.
“The authorities’ behaviour is reminiscent of the smashing of church property during the Cultural Revolution,” one Wenzhou Catholic said last year.