Christianity arrived in
by way of Syria
in the 600s. Depending on China's
relations with the outside world, Christianity over the centuries was free to
grow or was forced to operate secretly.
The 120 martyrs in this group died between 1648 and 1930. Most of them (87) were born in
and were children, parents, catechists or laborers, ranging from nine years of
age to 72. This group includes four Chinese diocesan priests.
The 33 foreign-born martyrs were mostly priests or women religious, especially from the Order of Preachers, the Paris Foreign Mission Society, the Friars Minor, Jesuits, Salesians and Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.
Augustine Zhao Rong was a Chinese solider who accompanied Bishop John Gabriel Taurin Dufresse (Paris Foreign Mission Society) to his martyrdom in
Beijing. Augustine was baptized
and not long after was ordained as a diocesan priest. He was martyred in 1815.
Beatified in groups at various times, these 120 martyrs were canonized in
Rome on October 1, 2000.