Ambassador Bennett Offers Condolences on Passing of Shanghai Bishop

March 20, 2014 - Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, today issued the following statement:

“I was sincerely saddened to learn of the death of His Excellency Bishop Joseph Fan Zhongliang, Bishop Emeritus of Shanghai, who died on Sunday at the age of 95.

“Bishop Fan’s life was a testament to religious freedom: he was known as the unofficial leader of the underground Catholic Church in China, and in 2000 he was confirmed as Bishop of Shanghai by Blessed John Paul II.

“He was a steadfast witness to the Christian faith in China. His position and involvement in the growing underground church movement inspired Chinese officials to sentence him to house arrest for the greater part of the last two decades.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada and Canadians, I extend my prayers and condolences to the Catholic faithful of the Diocese of Shanghai and to the family and friends of the late Bishop Joseph Fan Zhongliang.”

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