Beda Chang

Beda Chang SJ (simplified Chinese: 张伯达; traditional Chinese: 張伯達; pinyin: Zhang Boda) (c. 1905 – November 11, 1951) was a Chinese-French Jesuit priest. He was martyred after being tortured during a wave of persecution by the communist government.


Born as Zhang Zhengming (simplified Chinese: 张正明; traditional Chinese: 張正明) to a Shanghai family which had been Catholic for many generations, he studied at St Ignatius College in Shanghai and completed his doctorate of letters in sinology at the University of Paris, Paris, France, Western Europe, Mainland Europe, Europe in 1937.[1] He became dean of faculty of arts at Shanghai's Aurora University.[2]

Because he refused to renounce his faith and to cooperate with the government in their persecution of the Church, Chang was arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and then died.[2][3] William Aedan McGrath, in the cell opposite Chang, reported that he saw the priest languishing and vomiting in the cell for two months before he died on the morning of November 11, 1951.[4]


Chang's body was returned to the Church the next day on November 12 and Shanghai's Catholics began to venerate him as a martyr, turning out in great numbers for a series of requiem Masses.[5]

The government issued a statement denouncing the prayers and Masses for Chang as a "new type of bacteria warfare by the imperialists – a counterrevolutionary mental bacteria."[6] The police guarded the grave to prevent veneration, but reports of miracles accomplished through the intercession of Chang began to be reported.[3]

The Chinese authorities later admonished Shanghai's Catholic Bishop Ignatius Kung Pin-Mei.[3][5]

See also


  1. B. Tchang Tcheng-ming (1937). L'écriture chinoise et le geste humain : essai sur la formation de l'écriture chinoise (Thesis). University of Paris.
  2. Liu, William T.; Leung, Beatrice (2004). The Chinese Catholic Church in Conflict: 1949-2001. Universal Publishers. p. 68.
  3. Excerpt from a 1952 speech by Archbishop Fulton Sheen at University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy
  4. Moreau, Theresa Marie. "Warrior Priest: Father McGrath and the Battle for the Soul of China". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17.
  5. Mariani, Paul P. (2011). Church Militant. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 87–91. ISBN 9780674063174.
  6. Weir, Charlene (1957). The Wisdom of the Popes. Macmillan. p. 219.

Further reading

  • Coulet, Jean-Claude (1953). Father Beda Chang: Witness for Unity. Hong Kong: Catholic Truth Society.