A few months before the expiration of the Provisional Agreement on appointing new bishops, lay people, priests and bishops wonder about the effects it has had on the life of Christian communities in China. The Vatican is hoping to renew the agreement; China is likely to do the same if for no other reason than to use it against the US. The non-ideological question about religious freedom remains.
Priests forced to attend government training courses; underground clergy seized to convince them to join the Patriotic Association. Catechism classes closed; minors removed from churches; sacred buildings under construction blocked, closed or seized. Two years after the agreement, there are far greater difficulties.
AsiaNews' investigation into the situation of the Church in China almost two years after the agreement between China and the Holy See continues. The testimonies we present today, speak of closed churches, blocked masses, canceled catechism courses, crosses removed, publications for underground and official communities censored. Government repression affects not only Catholics, but all religions.
A young lay person from northern China talks about the difficulties that followed the signing of the Agreement. Fr John understands Pope Francis' sense of mercy towards official bishops and priests. Repression has increased against other religious groups, in particular Protestants.
Christians are forced to choose between faith and work or enlisting. Universities ban students from Sunday Mass. Party members cannot absolutely practise any religion. These are ways the Party defends itself from the growth of Christianity in China. Fr Domenico, a priest from the north of the country, describes the situation. AsiaNews's investigation into the situation of the Church in China continues two years after the signing of the provisional agreement.
For Li Ruohan, a scholar from northern China, the "enthusiasts" over dialogue between Beijing and the Holy See should remember the teaching of Pius XI and John Paul II ("Do not have any illusions about communism"). The Chinese Communist Party is a successor to Marx-Leninism and its aim is to destroy religions.