Bishop Arrested in China Reported Freed

VATICAN CITY — Authorities freed a Catholic bishop in China after 10 days, a religious news agency said.

News of the release of Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo spread among members of his community in the northern city of Zhengding although they hadn’t yet seen him, AsiaNews reported.

Jia’s detention, which lasted through the Easter holidays, followed the arrest of another Chinese bishop in March. The Vatican protested both arrests.

Jia, 69, was ordained a bishop in 1980 and has been imprisoned for a total of about 20 years, according to religious monitoring groups.

China broke ties with the Vatican shortly after the 1949 communist takeover and relations between them remain strained. China says it has about 4 million Catholics, but monitoring groups say the real figure may be double that.

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