China has released detained Roman Catholic Bishop Wei Jingyi following protests from the Vatican and others.

The Catholic news agency AsiaNews reports the 46-year-old bishop was released Sunday after 10 days in custody. Further details were not given.

Religious rights groups say Bishop Wei was taken into custody March fifth at a highway toll booth in northeastern Heilongjiang province after picking up two foreign friends from an airport in the provincial capital, Harbin.

China initially denied the arrest, but later said the bishop was being questioned about falsifying a document to leave the country.

The Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called on China to make charges against Bishop Wei public.

Religious rights groups say Bishop Wei has been in and out of Chinese labor camps for years. Bishop Wei heads a clandestine diocese of Qiqihar in northern China. His diocese, which is not approved by the government, claims about 50,000 members.

China permits a Beijing-controlled Catholic Church which rejects the pope's leadership. But experts say more Chinese Catholics worship at illegal underground churches than government-approved houses of worship.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.