China warns Pope Francis against interfering with country's religion
In response to Pope Francis' attempt at initiating new dialogue with Beijing, the Chinese have warned the Vatican against interfering with the country's religion.
The pope had sent two goodwill telegrams to Chinese President Xi Jinping as he flew over China's airspace on his way back from a five-day tour to South Korea, the Huffington Post reported.
The Pope said he was ready to visit the South Asian country after receiving positive responses to his telegrams.
Talking to journalists on his return flight on Monday, Francis said that the Vatican respected the Chinese people, adding the church was only seeking liberty for its task.
The move is seen as Pope Francis' bid to mend diplomatic ties with China.
The Vatican hasn't had diplomatic relationship with the country since 1951.
China's Catholic Church is split between the Catholic Patriotic Association controlled by the Communist party and an underground church that follows Rome.
While the state-run Catholic Patriotic Association responded to the Pope's call for greater dialogue, it did not cease from warning the Vatican against religious interference.
Liu Yuanlong, vice president of the association said that China will always safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity and it never allows foreign forces to interfere with religion.
He added that the Vatican should respect China in terms of the personnel of a diocese, the report said.
(Posted on 26-08-2014)