News on China

* Stephen Weeks, "China Says ‘No’ to Pope Visiting Hong Kong"

* Father Matthias Lu, "Renewal of the 1997 Petition for Bishop Su to the Human Rights Committee at the United Nations Organization"

* Al Santoli, "China Boosts Techno-Spy Base in Cuba"


China Says 'No' To Pope Visiting Hong Kong

Stephen Weeks

HONG KONG (Reuters, August 9, 1999) - China has barred Pope John Paul II from visiting Hong Kong during his Asian tour later this year, citing the Vatican's diplomatic ties with arch-rival Taiwan.

Hong Kong Bishop Joseph Zen told Reuters Monday that China ''says the Vatican has ties with Taiwan and no ties with us. Therefore, such a visit is not convenient.''

Hong Kong's government, caught between its masters in Beijing and the emotions of some 250,000 Chinese Catholics in the former British colony, said the proposed visit would have to wait.

``It would only be appropriate to discuss the proposed visit after the Central People's Government (Beijing) and the Vatican have resolved the relevant issues,'' a statement issued in the name of government spokesman Stephen Lam said.

The Vatican's diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which Beijing has viewed as a renegade province since winning a civil war in 1949, were clearly at the top of the list of relevant issues.

China's slamming the door on the Pope was the latest example of flexing its muscles on foreign and defense issues concerning Hong Kong, and further defining the limits to the territory's autonomy since British rule ended in July 1997.

China issued an oblique statement that delivered a clear message: the Pope would not visit Hong Kong while the Vatican maintained its diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

China noted the Vatican had ``so-called 'diplomatic relations' with Taiwan'' and ``problems associated with a Hong Kong visit by the Pope are rather complicated.''

``The Vatican is clear on this,'' said a statement by China's Foreign Ministry.

Tensions between Beijing and Taiwan have risen dramatically since early July, with China warning Taiwan not to move toward independence. The United States has sent envoys to both sides to try to calm the feud.

The Pope wanted his Asia tour to include Hong Kong, and the Vatican approached Beijing via the Chinese embassy in Rome. It would have been the first visit by a Pope since a stopover by Pope Paul VI in 1970.

Hong Kong's pro-democracy politicians said Beijing's refusal was a shift from Britain's pre-handover policies and set further limits to Hong Kong's autonomy under Chinese rule.

Under British-Sino accords, Hong Kong was granted a large degree of autonomy for 50 years but control over foreign policy and defense issues would reside with Beijing.

Beijing shied from exercising its control over foreign and defense issues until this year when it banned U.S. warships and military aircraft from Hong Kong after NATO bombs hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade on May 7.

``What the administration of (chief executive) C.H. Tung has tried to impress on people is that things have not changed very much (since the handover),'' said Emily Lau, a legislator and the leader of the pro-democracy Frontier Party.

``Catholics and others would like to know why the Pope came in the past and what is different now and is it really true that we are not as free as under British rule,'' Lau said.

The Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor said the move by Beijing ''represents a profound symbolic loss of freedom for Hong Kong.''

``The decision that the Pope is not welcome lends a disastrous message around the world that Hong Kong is no longer the free place that it was,'' it said.

China's sensitivity to religious issues was felt elsewhere in Asia Monday, with Sri Lanka refusing a request by Buddhists to invite the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to visit the country.

``We have very good relations with China. Any decision we take must be well thought of,'' said Sri Lankan Deputy Foreign Minister Lakshman Kiriella.

China has also launched a crackdown over the past month on the Falun Gong meditation and exercise movement, with widespread detentions and issuing an arrest warrant for the movement's leader in the United States.

Beijing may find itself facing another challenge involving the Pope after Macau, near Hong Kong, invited the Pope to visit the Portuguese-run enclave before it reverts to China on December 20. That would require permission only from Portugal.


Renewal of the 1997 Petition for Bishop Su to the Human Rights Committee at the United Nations Organization

"Since January 8, 1999, there has been no further information about Bishop Su. He has been made to virtually disappear. His parishioners have not been able to find out where he is at. In earlier, rare letters, Bishop Su and other Catholics reported episodes of religious persecution in various provinces of China: religious gathering places were dissolved or destroyed; prayer groups disbanded and fined; properties, books, religious articles searched and confiscated; parishioners have been forced to write declaration of apostasy or repentance"

Father Matthias Lu, Ph.D., S.Th.L., Th.D.

Director, Saint Thomas Aquinas International Center

Saint Mary's College, Moraga, CA, U.S.A.

July 12, 1999, G/SO 215/1 CHINA 1123, UNHCHR, With Observations Updated


Observation 1:

1. Recent Chinese Government documents have reconfirmed the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association's (CCPA) long ago legalized constitution and working regulations. As the persona juris of the Chinese National Independent Catholic Church, the Association has been endeavoring to establish ecumenical relations with the churches of other nations, intending to eventually confederate with them as sister churches. Within this world order, the Roman Catholic Church and other similar churches are excluded because they are illegal. They are illegal because they do not belong to the CCPA.

2. The essential constitution and the operative regulations of these churches which consociate with the CCPA are animated by an ecclesiology peculiar to the United Front Department of the Chinese Communist Socialist Party. They are characterized by the dictatorship of the proletarian democracy, permanent revolution through class struggle, and regimentation by the United Front Department under the central leadership of the Communist Socialist Party. In China, as in any other country, the jurisdiction and discipline of any power center other than the United Front under the Party leadership is rejected.

3. This legislative effort has resulted in the emergence of a new church, which can be described as a Socialist Catholic Church, national in China and ecumenical in the world. It is clearly a case of misuse and abuse of legislative power. Pretending the "rule of law," the Government has made national laws to restrict or oppress internationally recognized freedoms, instead of adopting the freedoms by liberalizing or abolishing restrictive laws.

4. With this perspective, unless it is guaranteed by the United Nations or another International authority, religious freedom cannot be restored to Roman Catholic Church parishioners in China. With freedom of association, these parishioners would be able to form their own association for religious services without belonging to the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) or any other form of a church which is not Roman Catholic, as defined by the Divine Law and by the Ecclesiastical Law of the Roman Catholic tradition.

5. From this reasoning, it follows that, in the case of Baoding Diocese, Bishop Su must be freed to serve his church as a legitimate Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in his Diocese without government restriction, under any pretext or pretension. Violation of the Divine and Ecclesiastical Laws of the Church is a Human Rights violation. No violator should be tolerated with impunity.

6. For this observation, reference is made to many government documents; two recent important White Paper publications are: "Freedom of Religious Belief in China," Oct., l997; "Progress in China's Human Rights Cause in 1998," April 1999.

7. It is noteworthy that the noble words in these documents leave unsaid the unpleasant facts about massive human rights violations. Nevertheless, their words eloquently recognize progress in human development and culture owing to the recently allowed, but limited, "Reform and Opening-up" in "free market" economy. Regrettably, they keep emphasizing the "rule of law" over the past due liberalization and reformation that would advance morality for expanding rights and freedoms. Morality can be only enhanced when religion is freely flourishing to cultivate it. This logical sequence is verifiable in psychology and history. Subverting this sequence, legislation becomes a perversion of the natural order of human society, management and education.

Observation 2:

1. In its treatment of Bishop Su and other Roman Catholics, the Peking Government violated the Divine Law and the Ecclesiastical Law of the Roman Catholic Tradition By this violation, it has also violated the Human Rights declared by the United Nations. Accordingly, this Government must be prosecuted in a competent International Court of Justice by the Human Rights Committee, using the service of International lawyers without involving the Holy See in Rome.

2. In this case, the Holy See cannot be involved because Bishop Su and other Roman Catholics like him acted on their own accord, dictated by their consciences and by their faith in the Divine and Ecclesiastical teachings, which they hold from the daily sacramental and atechetical tradition, in doctrine and in practice. The Holy See's offices did not direct their actions. For, the Government has disabled and under the penalty of punishment forbids information and communication with these offices.

3. Bishop Su and others like him need protection and facilities in order to reconstitute and reeducate themselves before they can defend themselves through the International law process.

International visitors, inspectors, observers, and peace-keepers or the like from the U. N. are urgently needed to visit them in China, to bring them to the U. N. for examination and study, and to secure for them their safety.

Observation 3:

1. One government officer's comments have raised questions about Bishop Su's health. The officer informed one of the parishioners that the Bishop would fast or engage in some form of a hunger strike, demanding his own freedom and the freedom of the churches in his Diocese. Since January 8, 1999, there has been no further information about him. He has been made to virtually disappear. His parishioners have not been able to find out where he is at.

2. In earlier, rare letters, Bishop Su and other Catholics reported episodes of religious persecution in various provinces of China: religious gathering places were dissolved or destroyed; prayer groups disbanded and fined; properties, books, religious articles searched and confiscated; parishioners have been forced to write declaration of apostasy or repentance; parishioners in many places have been urged to worship in the Chinese Patriotic Association Churches in opposition to the Roman Catholic Parish Church law and discipline; workers, farmers and employees are not allowed to return to work without rejecting their religion in writing; teachers and pupils are not allowed to return to school for the same reason. There are cases where, without court process, agents have privately administered the death penalty and severe corporal punishment. For example, one priest, found dead on the street, was believed to have been thrown already dead from a building window in Beijing. Continually, reports of more cases like these have been read in the press. Before 1995, these reports were rare, however, since then, their frequency has increased.

3. Information and communication are infrequent because the Government controls them under the penalty of punishment, a clear violation of freedoms. To deny freedom of information and communication is one of the worst forms of persecution and Human Rights violation.

4. What is said here in this paper possibly applies to other religions and nations, with adaptations. It shows that the United Nations intervention is essential for the enforcement of International Law for World Peace and Freedom in order to assist the helpless oppressed. Human Rights violators should not be tolerated with impunity.

Observation 4:

1. Recent Government documents, the White Paper on Religion, October 1997 among them, and media reports under Government license converge to testify to increased oppression of the Roman Catholic families in all of China's provinces. By the "rule of law," misusing the legislative process, the Government superimposes the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association Church (CCPA) over the Catholic believers. It outlaws the Roman Catholic Church as a kind of underground criminal group. It coercively persuades Catholic believers to renounce their Roman Catholic Faith in unity and join the CCPA Church. It penalizes the Roman Catholic families by causing extensive damages to their homes, their religious gathering places, their temporary shelters of prayer groups, catechism classes, leadership training classes. It punishes parishioners by excessive interrogation, by reeducation through forced labor, by corporal punishment of various kinds, and by exorbitant monetary fines. All o f these and many other unimaginable, ferocious deeds, as mentioned elsewhere, are administered under the pretense of Law. The " rule of law" is becoming a nick name of the "rule of persecution.

2. But, no Roman Catholic Chinese can join the CCPA-Church without renouncing their true Faith. For, the CCPA-Church is a Socialist Catholic Church created in China to mislead the world. In comparison with the Roman Catholic Church, the Socialist Catholic Church in China is not a church at all. An anti-church, it is a marionette made in China, by China, for the Party. It is not the Church established by Christ sacramentally in obedience to the will of God.

3. In its outward performances, the CCPA-Church is a marionette church manipulated by the United Front Department of Socialist Communism, which, in essence and by profession, is materialistic and atheistic. By the Party controlling the marionette church strings, everyone in it is manipulated like a puppet; each person is persecuted, helpless as a soulless victim--an ambulant cadaver. In essence, all human beings under regimentation in China can be said to be persecuted in this same way.

4. The victims of such persecution, overwhelmed by intimidation, regimentation and torture, are reduced to a state of helplessness. They no longer dare to do or to say anything in their own self-defense. Their condition is a deep wound of the humanity. Their suffering is no longer a Chinese territorial problem. It is, and has always been, a human world problem. It is a laceration of humanity.

5. Under these circumstances, everyone can see that an adequate intervention from the United Nations or from another international authority is urgently needed to help the helpless in China and in the World.


Considering the above observations, I am compelled by my conscience to humbly renew my individual and personal petition to the Human Rights Committee at the United Nations Organization.

And, I also submit it to you: -- all the readers reached by my personal communication channels. Please spread this information to your neighbors.

May the Y2K Jubilee Year bring Justice and Freedom to the World.

Submitted on July 12, 1999

by Matthias Lu, Ph.D., S.Th.L., Th.D.

Director, Saint Thomas Aquinas International Center

Vice-Chairman of Special Consultants,

International Association of Educators for World Peace


P.O. Box 3014, Saint Mary's College, Moraga, CA 94575-3014, U.S.A.

Tel.: 925-376-9398; 510-452-0219 Fax: 925-376-3862



China Reform Monitor No. 229, August 3, 1999, Washington, DC

China Boosts Techno-Spy Base in Cuba

Al Santoli

China has begun filling the gap in Cuba -- economically,

politically and militarily -- that was created by the collapse of the

Soviet Union, writes James Suchlicki in the Wall Street Journal.

"Evidence is mounting that China's main interest in Cuba is not

dissimilar to a use that attracted the Soviets . . . It is an ideal spot

for electronic eavesdropping on communications on the American mainland.

In other words -- it is a good base for spying. It is also a useful

relay point for routing intelligence back home," observes Suchlicki,

director of the Institute of Cuba and Cuban-American Studies at the

University of Miami.

During the past two years, he continues, Cuba and China have exchanged

high level military delegations, including visits by Defense Minister

Raul Castro and Cuba's top generals to China, and a trip to Cuba by

General Dong Liang Su, head of the Chinese Military Commission. In

February, a top-level Chinese military delegation, led by Defense

Minister Chi Haotian, visited Cuba. It was the first time a Chinese

Defense Minister had visited Cuba. "It should be no surprise," adds

Suchlicki, that China would want "an electronic espionage base close to

American shores."