Diocese of Zhouzhi
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In a land area of 2,956 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers Zhouzhi County, a county of Xi'an in the northwestern Chinese province of Shaanxi. Its principal town is Erqu.

Population

The population of Zhouzhi is 630,000 (in 2004). The population in Shaanxi province does not only consist of nearly all ethnic Han Chinese, but also of Muslim Hui population in the northwestern region (adjacent to Ningxia).

Language

Local Shaanxi dialect and Mandarin Chinese are in use.

History

The beginning of what is now the Diocese of Zhouzhi was on June 17, 1932. On that day, the Prefecture Apostolic of Chowchich (Zhouzhi) was erected. Three days earlier, on June 14, 1932, Pope Pius XI had appointed Father John Tchang, born on Oct. 1872 in Siaoyngli, as the first prefect.

On May 10, 1951 the Prefecture Apostolic of Chowchich [Zhouzhi] was elevated to Diocese of Zhouzhi (Chowchich]. The first bishop of the new diocese was Bishop Louis Li Pai-yu (Li Bao-yu). He had been appointed on the day of the elevation by the Venerable Pope Pius XII. Before Bishop Li, Father Joseph Kao had served the territory as second prefect. He resigned in 1951.

According to the Pontificial Yearbook 1951, the prefecture had 23, 397 Catholics in 1950 representing 2.5 percent of all 920,000 people in the diocesan territory at that time. 22 diocesan and 2 Religious priests than served the community in 91 parishes. There were 10 Religious Brothers and 12 Sisters.

Zhouzhi is a cradle of vocations. Besides serving at the diocese, more than 400 priests and 300 sisters are serving in other dioceses across China, according to unofficial estimations.

Transportation

Zhouzhidong has Xi'an to the east, Baoji to the west, Hanzhong to the south, Yangling to the north. The state highway 310 passes from east to west and the highway 108 from north to south, which links with the Xibao expressway. There is also the Long-Hai Railway. The Xi’an Xianyang International Airport is just 50 kilometers away.

Climate

Zhouzhi is located at longitude 107.39-108.37 degree and latitude 33.42-34.14 degree. It has a temperate continental monsoon climate. The annual average temperature is 13.2 degrees Celsius and annual rainfall is 674.3 millimeters. It has 1993.7 hours of sunshine all year round and frost-free period lasts 225 days.

Economy

Zhouzhi enjoys a mild climate since ancient times and is suitable to plant mulberry for feeding silkworms. Its silk embroidery is also a representative of Qin embroidery.

Zhouzhi is known as the hometown of Kiwi in China. Its output accounts for the first in China with an annual production of 200,000 tons or more.

Culture

Fawang pagoda of Xianyou temple, Bayun pagoda and the pagoda of Daqin monastery are listed as Monuments of the People’s Republic of China.

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