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After a week of international news coverage about the pope's imminent retirement, China's news has so far failed to announce it. China's Catholics, even the priests, are still unaware of what is happening in Rome, and this media silence in China about the pope's retirement comes at a time when the government has begun a three-part campaign to "eradicate non-sanctioned Christian activities." The government's official response to the pope's announcement has not appeared in the news, which reiterates the Communist party line. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman stated:

"We have noted relevant reports. China is always sincere in the improvement of China-Vatican relations, and would like to do so based on the two basic principles of handling China-Vatican relations. First, the Vatican should sever its so-called diplomatic ties with Taiwan, recognize that the PRC government represents the whole of China, and that Taiwan in an inalienable part of Chinese territory. Second, the Vatican should not interfere in China's internal affairs, including interferences in the name of religious affairs. We hope under the leadership of the new pope, the Holy See will take a flexible and practical attitude to create conditions for the improvement of bilateral relations."

At every Mass, China's Catholics pray for Pope Benedict XVI; it is unfortunate that this news about the pope they pray for is withheld from them.
 
About the Author
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Anthony E. Clark, Ph.D. 

Anthony E. Clark is an associate professor of Chinese history at Whitworth University and the author of China’s Saints: Catholic Martyrdom During the Qing, 1644-1911. He is also the host of the EWTN television series The Saints of China: Martyrs of the Middle Kingdom.
 
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