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.