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Apostolic Prefecture of Xinjiang

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Apostolic Prefecture of Xinjiang
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In a land area of approximately 17,000 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the prefecture-level city of Yuncheng in the southern part of Shanxi province. The city's administrative area includes 1 district (Yanhu), 2 county-level cities (Yongji and Hejin) and 10 counties (Ruicheng, Linyi, Wanrong, Xinjiang, Jishan, Wenxi, Xia, Jiang, Pinglu and Yuanqu).


The total population of Yuncheng is 5,046,000, including the urban population of 1,710,000.


Mandarin Chinese and Zhongyuan dialect (also known as Jinnan dialect) are in use in the diocesan territory.


Yuncheng diocese was formerly called Jiangzhou (Kiangchow). The first two Catholics in Jiangzhou were baptized by Jesuit missioners in early 17th century. In 1620, Italian Jesuit Father Giulio Aleni was invited to spread the Gospel in Jiangzhou, joined by his Belgian confrere Father Nicolas Trigualt four years later. They established a printing house to publish Catholic books and made Jiangzhou an important publishing base of the Church in northern China.

The local Church had developed gradually until the Yongzheng Emperor of Qing Dynasty banned Catholicism in 1724. Jesuit priests were expelled and Church properties were confiscated. In 1732, the first batch of Franciscan missioners arrived in Jiangzhou.

Missionary activities became more active when China was forced to open its doors after it was defeated by Western powers in the mid 19th century. However, the Jiangzhou Church suffered from the Boxer Uprising in 1900, during which churches were damaged and many Catholics were killed by Boxer fighters who were hostile towards foreign religions and its followers.

In 1918, the pastor of Jiangzhou parish formed a seminary and nuns' convent. Religious sisters from the Netherlands run a hospital, an orphanage and a home for the aged to serve the needy.

In 1936, the Prefecture Apostolic of Xinjiang (Jiangzhou) was erected from the Vicariate Apolistolic of Changzhi (Luanfu). As of 1949, there were 7,546 baptized Catholics, served by 3 diocesan priests, 11 Religious priests and 14 Religious sisters, according to the Pontifical Yearbook.

After the founding of the People's Republic of China, all foreign missioners were expelled from the mainland. Religious activities was disrupted for three decades due to political turmoil since 1950s.

In 1982, Jiangzhou was renamed Yuncheng diocese and its territory covers 19 cities and counties in accordance with civil administrative boundaries. Father Augustine Zheng Shouduo was ordained clandestinely as the first bishop of Jiangzhou in the same year.


The city has a well-established transportation infrastructure. The Datong-Yuncheng Highway, the Yuncheng-Fenglingdu Highway, the Yuncheng-Sanmengxia Highway and the Dongzhen-Jiyuan Highway connect the city with major cities in Shanxi, Henan and Shaanxi Provinces. The Houma-Xi'an Railway and the Taiyuan-Puzhou Railway run through the city. Yuncheng Guangong Airport operates 11 routes to major domestic cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Kunming and Sanya.


Yuncheng has a continental, monsoon-influenced semi-arid climate, with four distinct seasons. Winters are cold but dry, while summers are hot and humid. Monthly mean temperatures range from ?0.9 degrees Celsius in January to 27.4 degrees Celsius in July, and the annual mean is 14.05 degrees Celsius. Rainfall is concentrated in the warmer months.


Yuncheng is the fourth largest economy in Shanxi Province after Taiyuan, Changzhi and Linfen. In 2010, the city's GDP paced up 15.6 percent from a year earlier to RMB 82.7 billion yuan, ranking fourth among the 11 prefecture-level cities in the province. The value-added output from primary industry, secondary industry and tertiary industry reached RMB 13.55 billion yuan, RMB 37.09 billion yuan and RMB 32.06 billion yuan, comprising 16.4 percent, 44.8 percent and 38.8 percent of the city's GDP, respectively.

Metallurgy, coking, raw chemicals and chemical products, electricity and heat production and supply are the main industries in the city. The combined sales revenue of the pillars amounted to RMB 84.1 billion yuan, accounting for 52.6 percent of the industrial sector.

Yuncheng has rich agricultural products, such as wheat, cotton and apples, as well as abundant mineral resources, such as aluminum, iron and copper.


Yuncheng is situated in the southwestern part of Shanxi province, in the middle reach of the Yellow River. Lying at the intersection of Shanxi, Henan and Shaanxi provinces, the city neighbors Linfen to the north, Jincheng to the east, Weinan in Shaanxi to the west and Sanmenxia in Henan to the south.


Yuncheng, which means "transport city" in Chinese, served as a salt transfer point in ancient times. The city is a birthplace of the Chinese nation. Records of human life in the city extend back to 1.8 million years ago. The first dynasty in Chinese history, Xia Dynasty (2100-1600 BC) set up its capital in this territory.

In the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), it was under the control of the Hedong Shire, whose name means "east of the Yellow River". During the following dynasties, it maintained this name. Yuncheng is birthplace of many celebrities in China's history, including Guan Yu (a general during the Three Kingdoms Period), Liu Zongyuan (a great writer during the Tang Dynasty) and Si Maguang (a historian and politician during the Song Dynasty).

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