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Joseph Li Shan

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Joseph Li Shan
Archbishop of Beijing
Li in 2014
ChurchCatholic Church
PredecessorNo immediate predecessor
Thomas Tien Ken-sin (1946-1967)
Other post(s)Parish priest at St. Joseph's Church
Consecration21 September 2007
Personal details
BornMarch 1965
MottoOmnia Omnibus (English: All things to all men)
(Chinese: 对一切人,就成为一切; duì yī qiè rén, jiù chéng wéi yī qiè)
Coat of armsJoseph Li Shan's coat of arms

Joseph Li Shan (Chinese: 李山; pinyin: Lǐ Shān; born March 1965 in Daxing District, Beijing) is a Chinese Catholic prelate who serves as Archbishop of Beijing. He was consecrated a bishop on 21 September 2007, at age 42 at a ceremony at Nan Tang (South Cathedral) in Xuanwumen. His main consecrator to become bishop was John Fang Xingyao. Before becoming archbishop he served as parish priest of Saint Joseph's Church in Wangfujing.[1]

Shan also serves as the President of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.[2]


Li Shan was born in March 1965 in Daxing District, Beijing. His appointment as Archbishop of Beijing was approved by the Vatican. This approval was granted before his ordination, as happened for several other in the early years of the 21st century, unlike others, of an earlier period, of whom Pope Benedict XVI wrote that they, "under the pressure of particular circumstances, have consented to receive episcopal ordination without the pontifical mandate, but have subsequently asked to be received into communion with the Successor of Peter and with their other brothers in the episcopate. The Pope, considering the sincerity of their sentiments and the complexity of the situation, and taking into account the opinion of neighbouring Bishops, by virtue of his proper responsibility as universal Pastor of the Church, has granted them the full and legitimate exercise of episcopal jurisdiction."[3]

He became a vice-president of the state-controlled Chinese Bishops' Conference and the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association along with 16 other bishops who were assigned the same role in 2016.[4] He became a representative on the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee for the 13th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in 2018.[5] He became President of the Patriotic Association in 2022.[2]


Li Shan has spoken publicly in support of the Chinese government's push for "Sinicization of religion" (宗教中国化) in China, including support for the church in China selecting bishops on its own. In 2019 he made an address at the Beijing Catholic Forum for Sinicization of Theology further illustrating these views. On the occasion, he said: "Catholicism tells us that love for one's country is the fourth commandment of the decalogue...Be subject to every human institution for the Lord's sake...Supporting the leadership of the Communist Party and fervently loving our socialist motherland is the basic premise for upholding our country's direction to Sinicize religion." He spoke favourably of the efforts made thus far to "sinicize" the church in China as well as the history of the church in China since the episcopal reforms in the late 1950s.[6]

In August 2022, at the 10th National Congress on Catholicism in China, Li Shan was elected President of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA),[7] The congress issued a statement reaffirming its commitment to "Sinicization of Catholicism" (天主教中国化), independence of the church, and increasing patriotism.[8]

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI said the CPCA was at odds with the role of the international Catholic Church,[2][9] though the two have since reconciled with a formal agreement that the CPCA select bishops, which are approved or vetoed by the Holy See.[10][11]

The CPCA is closely aligned with the pro-"Sinicization" policies of General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping, promoting the "one direction, one road and one flag" position of the Chinese Communist Party.[12]

Bishop Li Shan has done public prayer asking for diplomatic relations to be established between the Holy See and China.[13]

On his 2023 visit to Hong Kong, he spoke of the importance of building unity between mainland Catholics and Catholics in Hong Kong, through evangelization efforts in line with "sinicization".[14]



In 2011, Bishop Li Shan was co-consecrator along with six other bishops in a canonically illicit episcopal ordination for the bishop of Leshan. This act carried a possible penalty of excommunication for all involved, if they are considered imputable within the framework of canon law.[15][16][17][18][19] The offence would not be imputable in canon law if the bishops who engaged in the act were coerced or under fear of coercion.[20][21]


On July 1, 2021, for celebrating the centenary celebrations of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Bishop Li Shan organized a watch party of CCP general secretary Xi Jinping's speech at the bishop's residence in Beijing.[22]

In September 2021, he served as co-consecrator for Cui Qingqi's appointment as the new bishop of Wuhan. The appointment was done within the framework of the Sino-Vatican agreement.[23]

On Christmas 2021, Bishop Li Shan announced a year for the 'Son of God', which followed 2021's 'Year of God'. The parishes in Beijing, which had suffered many closures due to Covid restrictions, reportedly developed their own pastoral programs to put into practice for celebrating this special year.[24]


For Lent 2022, while churches in Beijing remained closed due to Covid restrictions, Bishop Li Shan issued a pastoral letter for Lent encouraging the faithful to engage in "abstinence from speech, eyes, ears, internet, bad temper and negative temperament". He also said to overcome the pandemic and its challenges "we need even more the power of faith". He also made a commitment to "accompany catechumens to live a life of holiness, incarnating the image of Jesus Christ".[25]

On July 16, 2022, Bishop Li Shan held a mass at the North Cathedral where more than 100 people were initiated into the church. This was the first day that the church had been re-opened after having been closed since January of that year due to COVID restrictions.[26]

On July 24, 2022, to celebrate the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, Bishop Li Shan held a special mass and did group photos as well as gave small symbolic gifts.[27]

On August 15, 2022, the solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, he gave mass at the North Cathedral in Beijing and said on the occasion: "We must imitate the fidelity and humility of Our Lady in our daily life and always pray according to her example".[28]

In August 2022, he attended the 10th National Congress on Catholicism in China, where he was elected as President of the Patriotic Association. The congress issued a statement reaffirming its commitment to several principles including the "Sinicization of Catholicism" in China, independence of the church, increasing patriotism, as well as implementing the plans for the church made at the congress and to assimilate the spirit of the Central United Front Work Conference and the National Religious Work Conference, which had taken place in December of the previous year.[29][30][31]

At the end of December 2022, the Beijing archdiocese announced that churches were going to be reopened on January 1. They had been previously shut down due to COVID restrictions. Bishop Li Shan gave a dispensation to the elderly, the seriously ill and people infected with Covid from Sunday Mass.[32]


In February 2023, it was reported that Bishop Li Shan had given mandate to 11 extraordinary ministers of communion in Beijing to distribute communion to the homes of sick and elderly.[33]

Bishop Stephen Chow of the diocese of Hong Kong came to Beijing in April 2023 at Bishop Li Shan's invitation. This was the first time a Hong Kong bishop had visited the mainland for decades.[34] Bishop Chow also said that he had invited Li Shan to come to visit Hong Kong.[35]

In April 2023, Bishop Li Shan attended the installation of the new bishop of Shanghai and gave the address. The installation was not conducted with the Holy See's approval.[36]

For the Day of Vocations 2023, Li Shan asked priests to put calls to the priesthood and religious life at the centre of their homilies.[37]

On the feast of Saint Mark in 2023, Bishop Li Shan ordained a man to the priesthood. On the occasion he called on the newly ordained "to follow the example of Christ, the eternal High Priest, and to fulfill his duties as a minister and the task of sanctification with joy and love, to serve the faithful and work for the salvation of souls, following in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd by devoting himself to the edification of the family of the Church".[38]

For the Feast of the Sacred Heart in 2023, he visited a parish in Yongning that was celebrating its 150th year anniversary. On the occasion he called on people 'to dedicate themselves, their families and their parishes to the Sacred Heart of Jesus'[39]

On July 16, 2023, Bishop Li visited the Xizhimen Church and held a special mass in celebration of the parish's 300-year anniversary.[40]

At the end of July 2023, Bishop Li Shan and other bishops held a meeting in Pingliang regarding the compilation of "unified teaching materials". The meeting was reportedly arranged by the Seminary Department of the CCPA and the Chinese Catholic Bishops’ Conference (BCCCC).[41]

In August 2023, Bishop Li welcome four new postulants into the Beijing-based religious order, the Sisters of Saint Joseph. The bishop spoke that only in joy can the baptized accept their mission.[42]

In November 2023, Bishop Li visited Hong Kong as a reciprocal visit after Hong Kong's Bishop Chow visited Beijing earlier in the year.[43]

On December 30, 2023, Bishop Li Shan inaugurated a new church dedicated to St John in Beijing's Economic-Technological Development Area.[44]


On January 31, 2024, Bishop Li Shan served as the principal consecrator of Bishop Wu Yishun when the latter became bishop of the Apostolic Prefecture of Shaowu.[45]

On February 5, 2024, Bishop Li Shan attended and spoke at a meeting of Chinese religious leaders organized by the United Front Work Department and chaired by Wang Huning. The meeting discussed goals for Chinese religious organizations, including the implementation of the Five Identifications within the organizations.[46][47][48]

In June 2024, Bishop Li Shan hosted Belgian Cardinal Jozef De Kesel and a delegation of others in Beijing, where they met with him and other Chinese bishops. The meeting followed the visit of several Chinese bishops to Europe in 2023. [49]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The new Bishop of Beijing is elected". AsiaNews. 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2014-11-07.
  2. ^ a b c "New leader for Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association". www.catholicculture.org. 22 August 2022. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
  3. ^ Letter of 27 May 2007 to the Bishops, Priests, Consecrated Persons and Lay Faithful of the Catholic Church in the People's Republic of China
  4. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20170704023017/http://www.sara.gov.cn/xwzx/xwjj/379855.htm, archived article from : http://www.sara.gov.cn/xwzx/xwjj/379855.htm, SARA: 中国天主教第九次全国代表会议胜利闭幕, retrieved August 23rd 2022
  5. ^ http://www.xinhuanet.com/politics/2018lh/2018-03/16/c_1122548927.htm, (受权发布)中国人民政治协商会议第十三届全国委员会各专门委员会委员名单, Xinhua, retrieved August 23rd 2022
  6. ^ "Joseph Li Shan's remarks at the Beijing Catholic Forum 2019". 在2019年北京市天主教中国化神学思想研讨会上的致辞 Tianguang newspaper. 11 May 2020. Archived from the original on 20 April 2021. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
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  15. ^ "Some Questions Regarding the Leshan Ordination | EWTN". EWTN Global Catholic Television Network. Retrieved 2024-02-14.
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  21. ^ "Other bishops risk excommunication in China". La Stampa (in Italian). 2011-07-04. Retrieved 2024-02-14.
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  42. ^ "ChIna: Congregation of St Joseph welcomes four postulants". ICN. 2023-08-22. Retrieved 2024-02-14.
  43. ^ "Beijing bishop makes historic visit to Hong Kong amid China-Vatican tensions". NBC News. 2023-11-14. Retrieved 2024-02-14.
  44. ^ "China: Two new churches opened". ICN. 2024-01-09. Retrieved 2024-02-14.
  45. ^ "Holy See appoints third Chinese bishop in less than a week, signaling shift toward Beijing". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 2024-02-14.
  46. ^ "[视频]王沪宁出席全国性宗教团体负责人迎春座谈会". tv.cctv.com. Retrieved 2024-02-14.
  47. ^ "王沪宁出席全国性宗教团体负责人迎春座谈会". Weixin Official Accounts Platform. Retrieved 2024-02-14.
  48. ^ Zimo, Hu (2024-02-13). "Lunar New Year Vacation Homework for Chinese Religions: Teach the "Five Identifications"". Retrieved 2024-02-14.
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External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Archbishop of Beijing