Whether in Hong Kong or mainland China, the vexatious measures against Chinese Catholics have multiplied during the summer of 2020, to the point of making one wonder what the future may still hold regarding the secret agreement between the Vatican and Beijing on September 22. 2018.
Divide and rule seems to be the word of the Communist authorities in Shanghai province.
On July 27, 2020, the Longhua City Civil Affairs Bureau, which operates the funeral home which hosts Catholic rite funerals, forced the diocese to issue a stunning statement.
Any priest who wishes to celebrate the funeral of a deceased person will now have to produce documents proving that said priest is recognized and approved by the communist authorities.
According to the Ucanews news site—which does not hide its criticism of Beijing—the Shanghai government forced the diocese to publish this statement “with the obvious goal of dividing the Catholic community in the city in order to weaken it” and “to force it to submit completely to the Communists” and “to cease being loyal to the Vatican.”
The situation is hardly more enviable in Hong Kong, which has believed it enjoyed a relative autonomy based on the principle granted by the mandarins of the Middle Kingdom since the handover of 1997: one country, two systems.
But the enactment of the National Security Act in the summer of 2020 has dispelled that illusion, especially for Catholics on the peninsula once under British Mandate.
Thus, the diocese of Hong Kong was recently forced to send a series of directives to all directors of Catholic schools, requiring them to teach students the provisions of the law on security , and to instill in them “patriotic,” i.e., Maoist, values.
From now on, teaching staff will “promote correct values on [students’] national identity” and respect Chinese national symbols, including “the flag and the national anthem,” the episcopal courier said.
As the noose tightens ever more on the Catholics of China, the Holy See is studying the question of the renewal of the secret agreement valid for two years, signed with the regime of Xi Jinping on September 22, 2018.