For several weeks, the WeChat and Weibo messaging services - digital platforms located in the People’s Republic of China - have not ceased to denounce the gatherings of Catholic faithful organized by “foreign priests” in the Hebei province, judging them to be the origin of the new epidemic wave of Covid-19, which is hitting part of the country.
Fr. Shanren Shenfu, a Chinese priest, protested against these accusations: “The faithful report that they have been assured that a villager had been infected in Xiao Guozhuang because he had gone to church. However, all the ceremonies in the churches of the region were suspended on Christmas Eve by order of the government.”
Moreover, another local priest quoted by Asianews testifies that “the village of Xiao Guozhang is not Catholic: there are only a few faithful who reside there, but without a church or a place of prayer.”
Even the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association—an offshoot of the Chinese regime recognized de facto by the Holy See since the September 2018 agreement—denounced rumors of the spread of Covid-19 due to priests coming from abroad.
“‘It is now almost impossible for European and American priests to come to China. Even if possible, all immigrants must be quarantined in designated hotels for 14 days,’ and they must have a certificate with a ‘double negative’ (antibody and nucleic acid testing) to enter the country,” specifies the association in a statement relayed on January 10 by Ucanews.
For Fr. Shanren Shenfu, there is no doubt: the dissemination of such biased news is reminiscent of “the move of the Emperor Nero, who blamed Christians for the fire of Rome.”
And the priest feared a new “trick” from the masters of Beijing to impose ever more restrictive control over religious activities.
In his desire to bring in line the Catholic Church present in China, President Xi Jinping handles—with the consummate art of Marxist dialectic—the carrot and the stick, alternating between the episcopal ordination of several bishops approved by the Vatican on the one hand, with the most severe restrictions on religious activities on the other.
It is also a well-known trick to provoke a passionate reaction against the enemy to be fought, in order to turn the people away from or even direct them against them. Communism is a past master in this kind of manipulation.