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China’s foreign ministry: Vatican deal has been ‘implemented successfully’

By Courtney Mares for CNA

Chinese foreign ministry's spokesman Zhao Lijan. (Credit: China News Service. BY CC SA 3.0)

Vatican City, Sep 10, 2020 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said Thursday that China’s interim deal with the Vatican has been “implemented successfully.”

He made the remark days before the provisional agreement signed by the Vatican and China on Sept. 22, 2018, is due to expire.

“With the concerted efforts from both sides, the interim agreement on the appointment of bishops between China and the Vatican has been implemented successfully since it was signed around two years ago,” Zhao Lijian, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a press conference Sept. 10.

Bloomberg reported Sept. 9 that two anonymous sources had said that the deal would be renewed in the coming weeks.

Following the agreement, and in line with the Chinese Communist Party’s program of “sinicization,” state officials in different regions of China have continued to remove crosses and demolish church buildings, and underground Catholics and clergy continue to report harassment and detention.

The Chinese government spokesman went on to say that the Vatican and China had “accumulated more mutual trust and consensus through a series of positive interactions” since the beginning of 2020, citing mutual support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the state-affiliated Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Zhejiang Province’s Chinese Catholic educational administration committee issued new regulations on the reopening of churches requiring Chinese “patriotism” to be added to the celebration of the liturgy.

On July 1 a National Security Law came into force in Hong Kong that criminalizes new categories of “secession,” “subversion,” “terrorism” and “collusion with foreign forces.” Anyone convicted under the law will receive a minimum of 10 years in prison, with the possibility of a life sentence.

Cardinal Joseph Zen, emeritus Bishop of Hong Kong, has said that he has “no confidence” that the new National Security Law will respect the religious freedom of Catholics.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has mandated the “sinicization” of all religions in China, a move which the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom called “a far-reaching strategy to control, govern, and manipulate all aspects of faith into a socialist mold infused with ‘Chinese characteristics.’’’

The Chinese government is in the midst of implementing a five-year “sinicization plan” for religions in the country. Islam has faced increased persecution in the country, with at least 900,000 Uyghur Muslims held in internment camps. Survivors of the camps and their families have reported suffering torture, indoctrination, sterilization, and forced labor, along with other abuses.

Since the Vatican-China deal was signed, Pope Francis has not spoken publicly about the plight of the Uyghurs or the Hong Kong protest movement.

The terms of the 2018 provisional agreement between the Holy See and China have not been released. However it is known that the accord aimed to regularize the country’s government-appointed bishops who had been out of communion with Rome.

Following a Feb. 14 meeting between Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, and Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, the Holy See press office said that the meeting “highlighted the importance of the provisional accord” and renewed the “willingness to continue the institutional dialogue at the bilateral level to promote the life of the Catholic Church and the good of the Chinese people.”

The cybersecurity company Recorded Future reported July 28 that Chinese state-sponsored hackers had reportedly targeted Vatican computer networks in an attempt to give China an advantage in negotiations to renew a provisional deal with the Holy See.

The Chinese government spokesman said Sept. 10: “The two sides will continue to maintain close communication and consultation and improve bilateral relations.”


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    • I feel the world is in serious trouble and if the Pope renews the China agreement when it is obvious that the Chinese government is anti religious I almost feel there is very little hope for our world. We still have not had a decision on McCarrick and all the people waiting for the Pope to speed. Does McCarrick still have all the money he made giving speeches yet we the people had to pay millions of dollars to all the men and boys he hurt. The church has and is betraying them. I am not sure the Pope is helping our church or people; certainly he has doomed the people of all religions in China.

  1. Christ does not negotiate with atheist materialist over population alarmist terrorists. If you are not with Christ, you are anti Christ.

  2. Are we not free to assume that Government approved/proposed Bishops must countenance abortion, contraception, forced family limitation? Does anyone know how the Pope could approve heretics as Bishops? Or have I missed something?

  3. The Pope should do more to grow the church and help the fight for freedom of worship in China but not to dine with devil. I will be disappointed in the Vatican if dialogue means just maintaining the status quo.

  4. Being the all seeing all knowing geniuses we all think we are, each of us has our list of the many things wrong and mishandled in this world. Viewing my list from on high, it seems that all the elements fade in importance vis-a-vis this betrayal by our beloved Church of our Chinese brothers.

  5. This is horrible news. For millions of faithful Chinese Catholics will likely end up facing even more hardships than they have been through these last two years when the first accord deal was signed in Sept of 2018! Recap of what they’ve reportedly been through:: they are now being forced, in their own homes, to take down pictures of Christ and the saints and replace them with murderous Mao pictures–or they get no pandemic assistance; Catholic Bibles are now being rewritten by Communist thugs; crosses atop Catholic Churches are being taken down–and on and on it goes. Shades of Nazism tactics! Many Chinese Catholic dioceses still have no bishops appointed; they remain vacate. Yet this pope is set to renew this accord deal? Unbelievable. So my questions are: If the Vatican does this renewal, are they doing it because the Chinese computer hack job back in July got these communists very compromising info against the Vatican curia? Or is the Vatican Bank somehow being indirectly helped by Communist Chinese money? Consider: Nine short months ago, the WSJ reported how 90% of Peter’s Pence charitable funds was not going to the poor (like it should have), but back into the Vatican coffers to plug financial administration shortfalls. So, then, should we all connect the dots here and conclude the following: The Vatican does this China deal because it needs the money! How else to explain why PF seems set to renew this awful deal again?

    Frankly, when is Pope Francis going to get a clue about Red China? Their leaders are brutal totalitarians that are out for total control of the planet. Since 1949, when the Communist Party took control over mainland China, their primary goal has been domination of all nations under their communist yoke.(cf: Mao’s little Red Book) Currently, Red China is being aggressive with India, Taiwan, Japan, etc. And,seriously, any person with a modicum of analysis ability could now figure out there is NEVER going to be any true religious or political freedom in China while the communists remain in power. Zero chance. In fact, if these last two years of countless reports of brutal acts against Chinese Catholics, Christians, Uighur Muslims and Hong Kong peoples have not registered with Pope Francis, what will it take to clue him in? Some free world nations have figured this out and have publicly condemned China’s ongoing repressive acts (Canada; Australia; USA; Great Britain).

    Open plea: Please Francis, apply some common sense here. Do NOT renew the Vatican/China accord. By any objective standards, there is now no moral justification for doing so. You do it, you end up likely causing more physical, psychological, spiritual harm to millions of defenseless Chinese Catholics.

  6. Prayers have changed had things since humans believed how do you know that this isn’t an answer to prayer not in our will but Gods. They used to say our NHS was communist ideas but today it’s the only thing keeping us poor and rich alive. Give God a chance

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