Vatican ordained Bishop Martin Wu from Zhouzhi County, Shaan'xi Province, was arrested by local police on March 18. His whereabouts remain unknown.
On April 26, several Catholic parishioners from Zhouzhi County confirmed the bishop's disappearance to The Epoch Times . Mr. Zhang said, “Martin Wu was not appointed by the government but the regime has tried to pressure and entice him on numerous occasions to join the governmental church organization 'Three-self Patriotic Movement Committee,' but he refused them every time. Hence the regime became furious and arrested him.”
One follower from Guojiahao, Lintong County, near Xi'an City told an Epoch Times journalist, “We heard that he (Wu) was being held in our district, but no one can confirm the exact location. We heard they (the regime) want to brainwash him and make him capitulate.”
Local Officials Deny Knowledge of Wu
An Epoch Times journalist phoned the Zhouzhi County Public Security Bureau. The police said, “Wu is not here.” The journalist also phoned the Zhouzhi County Religious Affairs Administration and the answer was, “We don't know of any such matter. We don't know any such person.”
Followers from Xinping City, Shaanx'xi Province, said, “The government claims that the 'Three-self Patriotic Movement Committee' is a bridge between the government and the church. Actually, they want to control religion with politics, in order to protect their own interests and they want followers to listen to them by sacrificing their religious principles.”
According to one follower, Martin Wu was appointed as the Bishop by the Vatican in October 2005. His episcopal status was made known to others in the diocese in May 2006, by the former Bishop, Li Duoan.
Ever since Wu received his episcopal status, the communist regime has warned him many times “not to think of himself as a Bishop,” and the police have never stopped harassing him.
On Sept. 11, 2006, Wu was arrested by police and violently abused. He was released on September 16 as a result of pressure from local religious organizations. During his detention, local police repeatedly stressed to his followers that Wu's ordination was illegal. Before his release, Wu had to give assurances that he would only participate in activities in the Zhouzhi Diocese.
Regime Meets Resistance
Since then, the regime has attempted to appoint another priest, Zhao Yinsheng, to replace Wu as the Bishop, but met with resistance from the local Catholic community.
One local Catholic, who wishes to remain anonymous, said, “the regime wants to thwart the Vatican and appoint their own Bishop to use as a political tool. People may not notice during quiet times, but when things heat up, they will come forward, throw away church principles and follow the regime's orders thus protecting the regime's interest.”
The Zhouzhi Diocese was formed in the 1930s with the Vatican's approval and Martin Wu is the sixth bishop of Zhouzhi.
Martin Wu, whose original name is Qinjing Wu, was born in WuFeng Village, Xinping, Shaan'xi Province. After he graduated from high school, Wu studied at the Zhouzhi Diocese Seminary and the Shanghai Sheshan Seminary. He obtained his master's degree in pastoral theology from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, United States, in May 2003, and his master's degree in spiritual direction from Fordham University in New York in May 2005. Wu returned to China in July 2005, and taught spiritual direction and pastoral theology at the Shaan'xi Catholic University. On Oct. 19, 2005, Wu was ordained Bishop of the Zhouzhi Diocese.