- Jan 25, 2021
A top official in the Taiwanese Catholic Church has voiced doubt that a controversial secret agreement between the Vatican and China on the appointment of bishops actually exists on paper, suggesting that the deal was more of an exchange of words than formalities.
As Taiwan rapidly becomes increasingly isolated in the international community, having recently lost two more diplomatic allies, they are bolstering their image as a stable democracy where freedoms are enjoyed that are not in neighboring China.
A year after the Vatican made its secret agreement with China on the appointment of bishops, top Taiwanese officials have voiced doubt that the deal is making a difference for Catholics on the ground, and voiced hope that the Holy See would not drop Taipei in favor of Beijing, as some fear.
Taiwanese Ambassador to the Holy See Matthew S.M. Lee has blasted mainland China over what he said is a lack of respect for basic freedoms and human rights, and aligned his embassy with key papal priorities, such as care for migrants and the environment.
China’s president and Communist Party leader Xi Jinping has ordered that all religions must “Sinicize” to ensure they are loyal to the officially atheistic party.
An event held this week at the Taiwanese Embassy to the Holy See was one of the rare moments in which the majority-Buddhist nation showed its face in Rome despite keeping a low profile – a trend which has increased following the Vatican’s deal with China on the appointment of bishops last year.