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The Chinese government further uses the tentative agreement with the Vatican to force all underground churches to join state-approved ones.
Never mind a nearly four-month-old provisional agreement with the Vatican – one that was supposed to ease decades-long tensions regarding the appointing of bishops – the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, is upping its suppression and persecution of underground Catholic churches and believers.
Vatican-China - Deal - Pope - Francis - Legitimacy
Under the Vatican-China deal of 2018, Pope Francis recognized the legitimacy of seven Chinese-government-appointed bishops, who, not having been selected by the Vatican, had been excommunicated. In turn, Beijing finally, and formally, recognized the pope’s authority.
“China and the Vatican will continue to maintain communications and push forward the process of improving relations between the two sides,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement at the time.
CCP - Opposite - Relations - Churches - Home
And yet, the CCP is doing the opposite of improving relations with churches on the home front.
In early December, officers from a police station in Taining county of the prefecture-level city of Sanming in China’s southeastern Fujian Province stormed into a local underground Catholic church meeting place in order to arrest the church’s priest and nuns. When the mission failed, the officers threatened an elderly believer, saying: “If we can’t find the priest, then we will take all of you away.”
Dormitory - Building - Taining - County - Catholic
The dormitory building of Taining County Catholic Church. That day, the police used a ladder to illegally enter the building to track down and arrest the priest.
The following day, the police once again descended on the meeting venue, conducting illegal searches of the dormitory and harassing the believers there.
October - Catholic - Church - Gucheng - County
In October, an underground Catholic church in Gucheng county of the prefecture-level city of Hengshui in northeast Hebei Province was sealed off by the local government on the grounds that “the gathering venue was unlicensed and thus illegal.”
According to one believer, seals were placed over the...
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