.- A new spokesman for Chinaâs Ministry of Foreign Relations has reiterated the Communist governmentâs unacceptable terms for re-establishing diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
According to a report by the state-run news agency, Xinhua, ministry spokesman Oin Gang said, âWe sincerely hope to improve relations with the Vatican and we hope the Holy See will contribute to this process.â
In a clear message to the Vatican, which is preparing to publish a letter from Pope Benedict XVI to the 12 million Catholics in Chinaâmost of whom practice their faith in secretâGang said, âChina hopes the Vatican can appropriately see the fact that the Chinese enjoy religious freedom and that there have been a number of advances for Catholics in China.â
The statements are a warning to the Vatican to omit any reference to persecution, harassment or even death suffered by bishops and priests who do not adhere to the official âpatriotic churchâ created and controlled by the Communist party.
Gang reiterated the two conditions demanded by the Chinese government for re-establishing diplomatic ties: âThe Vatican should break diplomatic relations with Taiwanese authorities and should not interfere in the internal affairs of China in the name of religion.â This last demand is a euphemism that means the Chinese governments intends to name Catholic bishops, a right the Pope cannot renounce.
China broke ties with the Holy See in 1951 after the rise to power of the Communist regime of Mao Tse Tung.