China’s communist government is increasing its pressure on the Catholic Church in Hong Kong following the passage in May of the National Security Law, which gives mainland China jurisdiction in the once-autonomous region.
A lengthy report, revealed the arrests of two middle-aged Catholic nuns detained in May while visiting their families in Hebei province. Three weeks after being incarcerated, they were released into house arrest and banned from leaving mainland China. The two nuns worked in the Vatican’s unofficial diplomatic mission in Hong Kong, the epicenter of Beijing’s crackdown on freedom and religious liberty. Top clerics in Hong Kong and with the Vatican see the nuns’ detentions as a sign the Chinese government wants the mission shut down. And since the Vatican does not have any official diplomatic relationship with China, the mission, which does not enjoy any legitimate status, is victim to increased governmental surveillance. In addition, Beijing is trying to influence Hong Kong in choosing its next bishop, a post that’s been vacant since the previous prelate’s death in 2018. Senior Hong Kong clergy members said Chinese authorities are attempting to invoke a two-year-old agreement with the Vatican that would allow Beijing a say in prelate appointments.
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