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01/23/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – Wang Zuoan, deputy minister of the United Front Work Department (UFWD), recently visited the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) and the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC) in Beijing to enforce the government’s attempt to Sinicize religion.

In the meeting, he called on the CCPA and BCCCC to “maintain a high sense of responsibility and mission and lead the mass believers of the Catholic Church to continue to study through Xi Jinping’s new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” In addition, he also stressed the importance of flag-flying in church, to “let the five-star red flag fly high in church courtyards.”

In response, the president of China’s state-sanctioned bishops’ conference, Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming promised to live up to the trust of the Communist Party and the government.

“In the new year, they [the Church] will work hard, unite as one heart, think seriously, strive to practice, work according to the situation, and continue to make greater and better progress on the path of the development of Sinicization for gaining a satisfactory result for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China,” he said.

The Holy See signed a provisional agreement with Beijing last September on the appointment of bishops. Although the Vatican intended to help improve the situation for underground Catholic Church in China, in reality, many underground churches have been pressured to join the CCPA while two underground bishops were forced to concede their positions to formerly excommunicated state-sanctioned ones.

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