Zhang was admitted to the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) on 4 Nov 1911 after graduating from middle school. He was sent to Europe to study theology and philosophy on Jersey Island. Consecrated as a priest in 1923, he returned to Shanghai on 2 Oct 1925 and taught at his alma mater, Xuhui Middle School. He later became the school’s principal but had no authority over the school administration, since he was Chinese.
After the establishment of the Chinese People’s Republic, Chinese Catholic patriots sponsored the patriotic movement. In 1955 Gong Pinmei, bishop of the Shanghai Diocese, was arrested for treason. Under the sensitive political situation, Zhang decided to cooperate with the People’s government.
In Jan 1956, he was invited to the Second Session of the Second Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference as a nonvoting delegate. In 1957 he attended the inaugural meeting of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, being elected a member of its standing committee. He was present at the Liturgy for the Self-Ordination of Bishops of the Hankou-Wuchang Dioceses in 1958. On 23 Apr 1960, he was elected bishop of the Shanghai Diocese at the First Representative Assembly of the Shanghai Catholic Church and was consecrated on 27 Apr in the Xujiahui Catholic Church, being entrusted with the task of leading the Catholic Church in Shanghai to become a self-governing church.
Zhang was unjustly treated during the Cultural Revolution. In 1980 he was elected head of the Bishops’ Deputation, chairperson of the Religious Affairs Committee, and vice president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. He served as a member of the standing committee of the Fifth and Sixth Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conferences and attended important meetings as a Catholic representative in government affairs. He died of illness at the age of 96.
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.