Dominic Tang

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Coat of Arms of Bishop Tang

Dominic Tang Yee-ming, S.J. (Simplified Chinese: 邓以明; Traditional Chinese: 鄧以明; Pinyin: Dèng Yǐmíng; Wade-Giles: Teng I-ming; May 13, 1908 - June 27, 1995) was a Chinese Jesuit priest. Bishop in 1951 and later archbishop of Canton he spent twenty-two years in jail for his loyalty to the Catholic Church and died in exile in the United States.

Jesuit and bishop[edit]

He was born in Hong Kong and decided to enter the Jesuit novitiate in Spain in August 1930. Back in China, he studied Catholicism in Shanghai. He was ordained as priest at the age of 33 on 31 May 1941[1] during World War II. After his ordination he worked as a parish priest, principal of a primary school and social welfare work in Canton (Guangzhou) province.[1] Pope Pius XII appointed him on 1 October 1950 as Apostolic Administrator of Canton (Guangzhou), and on 13 February 1951 was ordained titular bishop of Elateia by Bishop Gustave Deswaziere, who said of him: By accepting the appointment from the Holy See in these difficult times, the new bishop was showing absolute obedience and a spirit of sacrifice.[1]

Twenty-Two Years in jail[edit]

Archbishop Tang was arrested on February 5, 1958. The Chinese government charged him as "the most faithful running-dog of the reactionary Vatican." [1] He stayed in jail for 22 years in prison because he refused to sever contact with the Pope, as ordered by the government.[2] His sudden release in 1981 was due to a developing cancer, when he was given permission to leave China for a cancer operation in Hong Kong.[1]

Archbishop Tang was never brought to trial, and therefore, was never convicted of any crime. Since his release, he had never shown any bitterness for his 22 years of imprisonment even though no apology was ever expressed by the Chinese government. He recounted his experience in his memoir, How Inscrutable His Ways![3]

Last years[edit]

On 26 May 1981, at the age of 73, he was appointed Archbishop of Canton (Guangzhou), which was rejected by China at once. He died in Stamford, Connecticut at age 87 and was buried at Mission Santa Clara de Asís in Santa Clara, California. In his book How Inscrutable His Ways! he summarized his attitudes, while incarcerated for 22 years:

  • In prison, I always asked God to grant me the grace to progress in virtue., e.g. humility and obedience....I obeyed only the regulations which did not conflict with the principles of my faith. I want to be gentle and kind to others, without resisting ill-treatment from others; when controlled and walked on, I did not complain. There are many opportunities for practicing virtue in prison."
  • "When I was a seminarian, I learned to do God's will. God's will required me to practice virtue in prison. This was God's love for me.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e Kung Foundation website
  2. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica
  3. ^ (St. Aidan Press, 1987).
  4. ^ Dominic Tang Yee-ming, How Inscrutable His Ways!

Further reading[edit]