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China's Roman Catholic Bishop Zhang Dies at 90

Vatican-appointed Roman Catholic Bishop Zhang Bairen, who was jailed in China for 24 years for his loyalty to the Pope, has died. He was 90 years old.

A U.S.- based religious organization, the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said Bishop Zhang died of heart failure Wednesday. He was the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hanyang in north-central China's Hubei province.

The foundation says Bishop Zhang, also known as Peter Chang, was ordained as a priest in 1942 after studies in Rome. He was appointed a bishop by the Vatican in 1986.

He was detained from 1955 to 1979 for refusing to renounce the Pope as demanded by China's officially atheist government.

China cut ties with the Vatican in 1951. Since then, Catholics who worship in congregations that are not government-approved face the threat of harassment, fines and imprisonment.

Some information for tthis report provided by AP and AFP.