05/02/2006, 00.00
CHINA – VATICAN – EUROPEAN UNION
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No to a state Church in China, says MEP

MEP Tajani tables a report on 30 years of EU-Chinese relations to Foreign Affairs Committee that covers human rights and religious freedom.

Brussels (AsiaNews) – Ordaining new bishops one after the other without the Vatican's consent is the hallmark of a state-controlled Church, a feature that is typical of dictatorial regimes, Antonio Tajani, a member of the European parliament, told AsiaNews. His comments were directed at the ordination of a bishop in Kunming, Yunnan province, on April 30, and another scheduled in Wuhu, Anhui province; both without the consent of the Holy See.

Mr Tajani, an Italian MEP for Forza Italia, a party which belongs to the European People's Party caucus, tomorrow will present a report on China-EU relations to the Foreign Affairs committee of the European parliament. The paper, which was prepared to mark the 30 years of formal ties between the Union and mainland China, looks at China's economic and human rights situations, including religious freedom.

"These ordinations do not facilitate the dialogue between China and the Vatican," Mr Tajani said. "China is not an enemy, but to the extent that it is prepared to talk economics, it must also be prepared to talk about human rights and religious freedom. Since it accepts to work with the economic rules of the WTO, it ought to accept some Vatican rules in matters of faith. It cannot pursue diplomatic ties with the Holy See and at the same time set up its own state-sponsored [Catholic] Church. State Churches exist only in dictatorial regimes."

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