Jailed for beliefs
BEIJING -- The Rev. Vincent Zhu Hongsheng, who spent 31 years in prison for his loyalty to the Vatican, died Tuesday in Shanghai of a heart ailment.
The 76-year-old minister -- who was educated in France, Belgium, Ireland and the United States -- was jailed three times by the Communists, who broke ties with the Vatican in 1957 and established an independent Patriotic Catholic Church. He fought Beijing's orders to renounce loyalty to the Pope and was active in the underground church.
Born into a well-known family that had been Christian for more than 300 years, his uncle, Bishop Zhu Kaimin, was one of the first six Chinese bishops ordained in Rome in 1926. The uncle died under house arrest in 1960.
After his studies in the West, Father Zhu returned to China in 1947, two years before the Communists came into power, to head a Jesuit high school in Shanghai.
His first arrest came in 1953, when he was held for a year. In 1955, he and thousands of other clergy and believers were arrested in a huge sweep against Catholics. Five years after his arrest, he was finally given a 15-year sentence.
His jail term was extended until 1978, during which time he worked in labor camps in coastal and northern China and in a pesticide factory. He was arrested a final time in 1981 and charged with transmitting a Vatican directive to split the church in China and openly defying the independence of the patriotic church.
He was sentenced after a two-year detention to 15 years in jail, but was released in 1988 for medical treatment.
Father Zhu was hospitalized in late December after suffering a heart attack.
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