China Spurns Papal Bid for Negotiations

BEIJING, Oct 31, 01 ( - The Chinese government has rejected a bid by Pope John Paul II to open negotiations with an eye toward establishing diplomatic relations.

The Communist government said that although the Pope had made a "positive" overture, he did not go far enough in apologizing for the alleged misdeeds of the Church. The Pontiff had voiced his sorrow for any errors that Christians had made in China. But Sun Yuxi, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, observed: "We also noticed that the Pope did not make a clear apology for the canonizations last year, which deeply hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.''

The Beijing government had bitterly opposed the October 1 canonization of 120 Chinese martyrs, saying that they were representatives of a colonial power. When the Vatican refused to call off the canonizations-- pointing out that martyrs are witnesses to the Catholic faith, not to any political ideology-- the Chinese government reacted by staging the ordination of 6 bishops for the government- sponsored Catholic Patriotic Association on the same day as the canonization ceremony.

Beijing has consistently said that diplomatic relations with the Holy See will be possible only if the Vatican breaks off relations with Taiwan, and promises not to "interfere" in China's internal affairs. (In practice, the later requirement has entailed acknowledging the government's power to appoint bishops and direct Church policies in China.)

Sun Yuxi said that if the Vatican is really serious about establishing diplomatic relations, the Beijing government has been "very clear about what it should do."

Catholic World News Service - Daily News Briefs
31. oktober 2001

av Webmaster publisert 05.11.2001, sist endret 05.11.2001 - 11:01