» 08/14/2014, 00.00
KOREA - VATICAN - CHINA - AYD
Beijing "recalls" Chinese priests from Seoul and blocks 80 young people from travelling for the AYD
AsiaNews sources in Korea confirm: "At least a dozen priests have been contacted by the Chinese government, which warned them of 'problems' in their return home if they had stayed for Francis’ apostolic visit to the peninsula". A delegation of 100 young people present in Daejeon for the Asian Youth Day, but about 80 were stopped before their departure. "At least half" of those are Beijing seminarians, who in recent weeks refused to obey an excommunicated Bishop Su. Not one word from Xinhua about the Pope’s arrival in Korea.
Seoul (AsiaNews) - The Beijing government has banned about
80 young people from taking part in the Asian Youth Day being held in Daejeon,
despite the enthusiasm aroused by the permission given to the papal flight to
fly over Chinese airspace.
According to AsiaNews sources,
about 40 of those young people are seminarians from Beijing, who
in July 2014 refused to attend the year end Mass celebrated by some
illicit bishops. According to the spokesman of the organizing committee of the
Pope's visit to Korea, Heo Young-yeop, China's decision arose from
"problematic internal situations". Another source speaks of possible
In addition, the Communist government has decided to recall
some Chinese priests residing in Korea before the arrival of Pope Francis on
the Korean peninsula. Local sources confirmed this to AsiaNews: "The
priests were phoned by officials from the Religious Affairs Bureau, which
threatened them with 'problems' if they did not immediately return home".
Threats of "problems" on returning home are a
common means of controlling priests and religious overseas Chinese. In addition
to the withdrawal of passports, visas and the cancellation of any generic bureaucratic
documents, the executive and especially the Religious Affairs Bureau have often
threatened the families of Catholics abroad.
Although there are no official figures, the Chinese
community in South Korea has hundreds of thousands of people. Of these, at
least 50 thousand are Catholic (baptized or catechumens). This community, mostly based in Seoul and
Incheon, are cared for mainly by priests of their own nationality. Similarly,
there are many Korean priests who serve in China, especially the Korean
community residing there.
To avoid embarrassing situations, Beijing has decided to recall
these people and to impose conditions to prevent their contact with Francis.
Yesterday at the inaugural Mass of the Asian Youth Day in
Daejeon Chinese flags were not visible, even though a delegation of young
people from mainland China was expected to take part. However, again AsiaNews
sources claim a group of about 100 young people managed to arrive on the Korean
Peninsula: these are mostly young people from the capital and the province of
There will be time enough to evaluate these signals that
China is sending to the Vatican. What is clear for now is that that Beijing,
which considers itself a modern state, could not refuse its permission for the
papal flight to cross the skies of China, but on the ground the State wants to
continue to monitor the Catholics. As well as all information: Xinhua has not
published a single news story on the Pope in Korea, instead it has given wide
coverage to a Korean actress who is participating in a charity dinner (VFP)
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