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Reports: Beijing Releases Unofficial Chinese Roman Catholic Bishop


Published reports say a bishop belonging to China's underground Roman Catholic church has been released from a Chinese prison after 10 months.

Reports by Catholic-affiliated news outlets (Asianews and the Union of Catholic Asian News) say bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo returned to his home this week in the northern city of Zhengding, in Hebei province. Authorities have also allowed the bishop to receive visits from priests from his diocese.

Jia is believed to be at least 70 years old. He has been arrested eight times over the past two years, apparently for refusing to join China's state-approved church, known as the Catholic Patriotic Association.

The bishop's latest detention began in November last year. Reports say that earlier this year, Jia was taken to a hospital for medical treatment, but remained in police custody.

Jia was ordained as a bishop of China's underground church in 1980. Beijing only allows Catholics to belong to government-controlled churches, but many Chinese Catholics remain loyal to the Vatican and worship in unofficial churches and private homes.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.
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