Zhao was admitted to the small monastery in Xian Xian Diocese in 1911. Two years later he entered the Xian Xian Society of Jesus. He was selected for further studies in Belgium, where he received a doctorate in philosophy. In 1924 he was initiated into the priesthood in Belgium. After his return to China, he was first appointed professor of Latin in the small monastery in Xian Xian Diocese. In 1936 he was named priest of the headquarters of parishes in Hejian. In1938 he was appointed by the papacy as the first Chinese bishop in Xian Xian Diocese.
After the founding of the Chinese People’s Republic, he gradually dispelled his suspicions and fears about the Chinese Communist Party and attended the First Representative Conference of the Chinese Catholic Church in 1957. He was elected vice chairperson of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and was also elected chairperson of the Hebei Provincial Catholic Patriotic Association at the First Representative Conference of the Hebei Catholic Church.
On 20 Apr 1958, he consecrated four “self-chosen” bishops from the dioceses of Yongnian, Yongping, Xuanhua, and Xiwanzi in the Zhangjiazhuang’s bishop’s cathedral at Xian Xian. Soon after, he consecrated another three “self-chosen” bishops of the Baoding Diocese in the Baoding Catholic Church. He contributed toward the independence and autonomy of the Chinese Catholic Church.
During the Cultural Revolution, he was persecuted, arrested, and imprisoned. He died of illness while in prison. In 1981, his wrongful arrest was redressed and his discredited status reinstated posthumously with a memorial meeting held in his honor by the Hebei Provincial Catholic Patriotic Association at Shijiazhuang.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, copyright © 2001 by Scott W. Sunquist, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.