Bishop James Su Zhimin Born was on July 1st, 1932 in Tiangezhuang Village, Qingyuan County, Baoding City. In 1941, he entered the monastery of Yi County and then went to the Salesians of Don Bosco branch in Beijing to receive theological education. In 1956, due to persistence in the Catholic faith and refusing to join the CCPA, Su was arrested for the first time and released six months later. After the release, the Chinese government kept a close eye on Su and arrested him again in 1959. This time he was sentenced 5 years in jail. Su was released on June 6th, 1964, and was sent back to the village for heavy labour (“re-education through labour”). On December 29th, 1975 He was arrested for the third time and was released in 1979.
In 1981, Su Zhimin was ordained by Bishop Peter Joseph Fan Xueyan as a priest. He was arrested for the fourth time on December 23th, 1982. This time he was sentenced to 12 years in prison. On January 13th 1986, due to the replacement of the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, Su was released earlier than expected.
In 1996, the bishop was arrested during a religious procession for conducting unregistered religious activities (pilgrimage to Our Lady of Donglü). In November 2003, his family discovered him by chance at a hospital in Baoding, surrounded by police and public security. He has not been heard or seen from since, despite repeated international inquiries. In all, he has spent 40 years in prison, without charge, without trial. Before being arrested in 1996, Bishop Su Zhimin was held off and on for 26 years either in prison or forced labor camps.
Attempts at identifying or memorializing him, or holding public events in his honor, have met with hostile police action. Till now we do not even know if Bishop Su is still alive.