A Chinese Catholic deacon holds a bible at the Palm Sunday Mass during the Easter Holy Week, 19 April 9 2017

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There are an estimated 12 million practising Catholics in China

A Chinese language Catholic bishop who was detained for seven months has been freed, the Vatican says.

The Church had expressed grave concern for Peter Shao Zhumin, who was faraway from his diocese final Might.

His mates mentioned they feared that he was being pressured by the authorities to pledge his allegiance to the Chinese language Communist Celebration as a substitute of the Church.

His disappearance led to a public row between China and the Vatican.

Relations have been strained by disputes over who can appoint bishops within the nation.

Nevertheless latest reviews have mentioned that the Vatican and Beijing are drawing nearer to reaching an historic settlement governing the choice of bishops for 10 million Chinese language Roman Catholics.

There are at present about 100 Catholic bishops in China, with some permitted by Beijing, some permitted by the Vatican and, informally, many now permitted by each.

There are considered about 12 million practising Catholics in China, divided between officially-sanctioned and underground church buildings.