The request for release came in connection with the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s announcement of granting official pardon for jailed war veterans, bedridden and disabled elderly prisoners to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
“The bishop’s heath conditions are not known to us. But it is imaginable that an elderly man in his 80s must be ailing like a candle in the wind. Being imprisoned for 18 years, by now the bishop’s organizing skill and ability to influence the church has faded”, wrote the petitioners in the letter to the Communist Party department that oversees religious affairs.
Bishop Su, 88 was arrested in 1996. He was nicknamed by the Communist government as “counter-revolutionary” for not showing interest in joining the government sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.
The current petition for the release of the bishop was signed by Su Tianyou, Bishop Su’s nephew and a lay leader in Baoding, Father Pietro Cui Xingang, former rector of Baoding’s Donglu Marian Shrine who is now serving in Rome, and Father Lu Genjun, vicar-general of Baoding’s underground community who was released in August 2014 after eight years of detention..