While China had been tolerant of Christians for some time, between 1805 and 1813 Emperor Kia-Kin proclaimed a series of oppressive decrees against the practice and propagation of the Christian faith. Those who refused to renounce their faith were to be punished.
Peter Wu Guosheng was born in 1768 in the Sichuan-Guizhou region in the West of China. He became a village inn-keeper. He gained a reputation for caring for the poor and exposing injustice. When missionaries came to his area, he was one of their first converts. He was baptized a Catholic in 1796, and soon became a catechist. It is said that he converted more than 600 to Christianity, including many visitors to his inn.
After the decrees of Emperor Kia-Kin, he was arrested and imprisoned on 3 April 1814. Despite being tortured, he refused to renounce his faith. While in prison he continued to teach others to pray in the way of Christ. He was condemned to death for refusing to tread on a crucifix. He was strangled to death on 7 November 1814. His dying words were said to be: “Heaven, heaven, my true home! I see my heavenly mother and my guardian angel coming to take me home.”
He was beatified in 1900, then proclaimed one of the Martyrs of China, and canonized by John Paul II in 2000, along with 119 other Blessed Martyrs of China.