The Martyrs of China

The Chinese Martyrs

St. Augustine Zhao Rong and companions, martyrs

July 9 in the Baha’i Faith is the commemoration of the Martyrdom of the Bab.  In the Catholic Church, July 9 is the feast day commemorating the Martyrs of China.

There have been Christians in China for about 1,400 years, but it has always been a small minority.  Today there are 70 million Christians in China, about 5 percent of the country’s population.  Periodically over the centuries the Chinese government has persecuted the Christian minority, a state of affairs that has continued in modern times.  120 of these martyrs have been canonized as saints, and July 9 is their collective feast day.  These 120 martyrs were killed over a span of time from the 1600s through the early twentieth century.

One of the most famous of these martyrs is a convert named Zhao Rong.  He was a soldier in the Chinese army at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the emperor instigated a new wave of persecutions.  One day Zhao Rong was assigned to accompany a French missionary to the place of execution.  When the missionary refused to recant his faith in Christ and chose death instead, Zhao Rong realized that though the missionary outwardly seemed weak, in reality he displayed more strength than a soldier.  He converted and took the name Augustine, and was later ordained a priest.  He was martyred in 1815.

A large number of Christians were killed during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900.  Among them was a young man named Chi Zhuzi, 18 years old.  They skinned him alive but he refused to deny Christ.  Then they cut off his right arm and he cried, “Every piece of my flesh, every drop of my blood will tell you I’m a Christian!”

There is more information about the Chinese martyrs on the Vatican website here.

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One Response

  1. Thank you for charing this Jonah.

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