China’s Religious Affairs Minister: Vatican Controls Cuba and Vietnam

Ye Xiaowen, China’s religious affairs minister, warns us of a Popish plot. AsiaNews reports:

“Cuba is administrated by them [by the Vatican]. Vietnam is administered by them. Among the socialist countries, only China has continued to ignore them”.

Ye also complains that the Vatican wants “the control and management of the Catholic Church in China”, which is supposedly unreasonable. This is of course related to ongoing dispute between the state-controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which has government-appointed Bishops, and the actual Roman Catholic Church. Ye is particularly annoyed by canonisations that occurred in 2000, which he tells us honour “shameless libertines” and persons responsible for “horrendous crimes” (details of those canonised, the most prominent of whom is the martyr Augustine Zhao Rong, can be seen here).

Further:

“The Vatican”, Ye asserts, “recognises the illegitimate power of Taiwan, and does not recognise the People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate government”. From this, he concludes that anyone who has “secret contact with the Vatican . . . lacks the sense of patriotism that a Chinese citizen should have.”

AsiaNews gives a bit of commentary on all this:

…this interview was published while in Vatican City a Chinese delegation was meeting with members of the secretariat of state to study – according to information leaked by the Vatican – the possible steps for restoring the diplomatic relations interrupted by Beijing in 1951, with the expulsion of the nuncio at the time.

The question that many are asking is this: Why in the world, with a delegation at the Vatican to speak about future diplomatic relations, would a member of the same government continue to express outworn, closed-off positions? Some observers think that there is division in the Chinese leadership, between those who want greater openness and freedom and those who remain bound to Maoist and Stalinist perspectives. Others think that Beijing is simply playing a double game, in keeping with Chinese tradition. In this case, the overtures of the Chinese delegation and Beijing’s desire to establish diplomatic relations would simply be a means of “pacifying” the Vatican while China comes into the spotlight with the Olympics.  An expert on China has even told AsiaNews: “Don’t worry; after the Olympics, everything will go back to the way it was”.

Ye has featured on this blog in the past before; I’ve noted his (unsurprising) denunciations of the Dalai Lama, and in 2006 Rev Bob Fu of the China Aid Association described him as “the top Communist Party religious persecutor” who “is directly responsible for hundreds of arrests of House church pastors and other persecution cases to independent religious groups.”

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