China's Communist Party arrested the Vatican-appointed coadjutor bishop of Wenzhou, Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, earlier this week because he hasn't been approved by Chinese officials.
The regime has long allowed only bishops approved by Communist state officials to serve in its territory, even if such bishops have officially been appointed by the Vatican.
AsiaNews reported on Thursday that Shao was making preparations to honor the funeral of Msgr. Vincent Zhu Weifang, the original Bishop of Wenzhou who died earlier this week. Christians in the city are saying that Shao was arrested shortly before Zhu's death, with the aim to prevent him from participating in the funeral and taking possession of the diocese.
Shao was taken by police to northwest China "on a trip," sources said, while his secretary, Fr. Paul Jiang Sunian, who is also an unofficial priest by China's standards, was escorted by police to Yunnan.
The sources said that "the bishop and the priests were taken away from the city to thwart a peaceful succession of Msgr. Shao episcopate of Wenzhou."