Foreign Affairs

Cardinal Zen: Chinese Communists Renew Crackdown on Chinese Catholics

The titular leader of Catholics in China in an exclusive July 10 HUMAN EVENTS interview in the rectory of Washington’s St. Mary, Mother of God Church spoke out against the religious policies of that country’s Communist government, including the renewed arrest and torture of priests, coerced participation in government-staged ordinations and the pending takeover of Catholic schools in Hong Kong.

“All the examples in history show that when the bishops are under the control of the government, the Church goes wrong,” said Cardinal Joseph Zen, the retired archbishop of Hong Kong, who still commands respect for his years of outspoken support for religious freedom inside his homeland.

The cardinal is a slight man who wore his black cassock with the red buttons, piping,  fascia and zucchetto of the prince of the Church. His stop in the nation’s capital is one of 10 visits to Chinese communities in America and Canada. Before celebrating Mass in Chinese with the co-located Our Lady of China Parish, Zen celebrated the church’s regular scheduled traditional Latin Mass.

A priest traveling with the cardinal, who asked that his name be withheld, said in addition to the visit was an opportunity to visit old friends and to keep Chinese Catholics in the two countries informed about the struggles of the Church to operate freely.

“In France, England and Eastern Europe—it is always a disaster for the Church when it abandons its traditional independence,” said the cardinal. 

Today in China, the Catholic community is divided into two, by the government’s creation of an official  church referred to as the “open” church, which is sanctioned by the government and the underground church that never wavered in its unity with the Holy See.

“People should understand, we are one Church and one family, so they must open their hearts, understand each other and respect one another,” he said. “On the spiritual level, we must work to create  rapprochement of hearts.”

But, a structural merger is very difficult. The open church is completely under the control of the government, so how can we unite with that? It is impossible. If you unite with that you are wrong,” he said.

On the other hand, it is impossible for the open church to merge into the structure of the underground church, he said.

For a time, since 2007, the Vatican and the government were trying to find a way to cooperate, but those efforts stopped when the Communists began ordaining new bishops without Rome’s approval.

The cardinal said he knows priests and bishops who attended the ordinations against their will.

“There are three kinds who participated: those brought by force, those brought by heavy pressure and those who went willingly,” said Zen, a native of Shanghai, who was ordained a priest in 1961.

“It’s very bad that people have to be forced—but, it is even worse for us—more sad for us—that some went willingly,” he said.

The retired prelate said he there are bishops who have been corrupted by the government. “Some bishops who go get paid a good sum of money. We know one bishop who received 200,000 renminbi and for another it was 300,000. We know many things in Hong Kong about what is going on. It is no longer possible to keep things secret.”

The bribes and bullying have been accompanied renewed arrests and tortures despite greater scrutiny and communications, he said.

“When they arrest a priest they don’t put him in the prison, they put him in a guest house of the police,” he said.

“Unfortunately, they are going back to the use of torture,” he said. “One priest was kept for five days without sleep and they kept him standing as officials interrogated him in three shifts. Then, after five days, he simply collapsed and then, they beat him. It is incredible.”

Although China is a one-party state, the cardinal said the central government is too wary of the world watching its behaving to direct the severe harassment.

“In China we say, ‘The mountains are high and the emperor is far away,’” he said. “The central government is not always in control.”

The situation in Hong Kong, which transferred from British colony to the sovereignty of China in 1997,  is different again.

“Hong Kong is a part of China, but it one country with two systems,” he said. In the 13 years since the handover, the Communists have respected the continuation of British law and customs in the city.

From Hong Kong, Zen said he can speak freely without fear of personal harm or arrest. “It is a cosmopolitan city and they are not foolish enough to do something that would create trouble for themselves.”

Still, there are tensions. The cardinal is repeatedly denied permission to visit the mainland. In recent years, he was allowed to visit family for three days in 2004 and during the 2010 Shanghai Expo, he was allowed to visit his native city for a morning and afternoon, he said.

At one point, Zen was subject of speculation that he was a “secret cardinal,” elevated by Pope John II, but not named because it would make him a bigger target for the Communist authorities.

Zen said he is aware of the speculation, but he is confident it was not him. In practice, only the pope knows. “How could I know, even if I was the secret cardinal because it is a secret.”

The late pope took the secret to the grave, he said. “But, if I had to guess, I would say that it was the bishop of Xian, who was a very good man.” That man, Archbishop Li Duan died in 2006, and was a vocal opponent of the government-controlled church and the oppression of the underground church.

As he continues his travels, the most important message Zen has for his audiences is: Stay informed and remain hopeful. “We must work for a merger, but at this moment, we would have to force it. To force it now would mean forcing the underground church to surrender the government structure.”

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  • Party of No

    America must cut off diplomatic ties with China and resume ties with Taiwan instead.  We must no longer import their cheap products that are made by slave labor.  Being economically tied to the Chinese Communists is probably the single biggest foreign policy blunder that both parties have embraced.  The Tea Party calls for an end to this.  The Tea Party only supports American made products.  We will no longer support anything created by communist countries.

  • Thomas

    You can get goods from India and other places just as cheap as from China; in some places the wages are lower even than in China.

    So even if you are a dirty miser calling yourself a “free trader” who really just wants to pay the very least for a good and pretend like Scrooge, that you are not responsible for the working conditions in which the goods were made, as if you are not your brothers keeper.

    Even if you are that kind of sociopath you still want to save money and as I said Chineese goods are no longer the cheapest and even when they are they are always the lowest quality, so you would have to save quite a bit for goods that break down quickly.

  • Steven Chavez


    What word is next to M-A-R-X in the Dictionary? 

    What word is next to C-O-M-M-U-N-I-S-M?  

    Liberation Theology was tested in Central America by people who tried to equate the teachings of Jesus and Marx.  The disciples of Marx, were hiding behind “peace” groups run by the Communist Party USA, in particular, the U.S. Peace Council and the World Peace Council run by the Soviet KGB! They raised funds here in the U.S to aid the Communist Sandinistas and the FMLN in EL SALVADOR.  WHAT DOES “EL SALVADOR” TRANSLATE TO NANCY? This is important since the MARXIST, USING Liberation Theology, raised funds IN CHURCHES which means they raised money in the home of the SON OF GOD, to aid an ideology that says, “THERE IS NO GOD!” 

    The Lady of Fatima, performed the miracles beginning on May 13, 1917 and on every 13th of each following month ending on October 13th.  On September 13th, her message to the three children was to “stop Communism” which the children then told the people.  The authorities then thought the children were fakes due to a political message. On November 7, 1917, the Russian brand of Communism was the victor. Their first order of business was to burn down churches or take out all religious art and statues and burn them.

    One of the three children had a secret, given to her by the Virgin Mary, that she eventually revealed to Pope John II who was shot on May 13. He was from Poland, a Communist country. His being Pope, an Internationally respected position, led a group of shipyard workers to revolt against its dictatorship eventually leading to the “Solidarity Movement.” The Pope scolded Central American priests about Marxism and Liberation Theology.

    Beginning in the 80′s, there was a war between Jesus and Marx. Both of their disciples were spreading their word around the world. The raising of money by Marxist “peace” groups was The Mother of All Deceptions. The Communist Party USA and the Soviet KGB infiltrated universities and recruited students. One of those students was BARACK OBAMA! Google “Obama Sundial 1983″ which is an article Obama wrote while a student at Columbia. It is on COMMUNIST FRONT GROUPS THAT HE SUPPORTED! These groups were pro-Soviet and anti-Reagan/U.S.! Obama himself admitted that he “sought out Marxist Professors” and this article proves he surrounded himself with radical Marxist students and worse, taking their direction, and funds, from the Soviet KGB! Many in Obama’s current Circle, were in COMMUNIST FRONT GROUPS IN THE 80′S including Leon Panetta and Hillary Clinton, who gave up to $12,000 to the FMLN REBELS IN EL SALVADOR! Two years ago, the FMLN won the Presidential election and HILLARY was the highest ranking U.S. official at the inauguration.

    Rev. Wright, in one of his sermons, said, “our brothers and sisters in El Salvador” which to me who knows code phrases, is evidence that Wright was also a part of this Communist conspiracy to takeover Central America. This led to him preaching Black Liberation Theology, which is as racist as it gets and Obama, and family, and Oprah sat in those pews listening to hate America and hate/blame Whites speech!

    Back to the 80′s. The Berlin Wall fell on 9-11-1989. In Germany, they put the day first and the month next so it was on November 9th. I was in Berlin in ’72 and again in ’95 so before and after The Wall. The Iron Curtain began to fall. Nicolae Ceausescu, the President of Romania, was executed on CHRISTMAS DAY, 1989. (Google Ion Pacepa World Peace Council. He was one of the main leaders of spreading Soviet propaganda through the KGB’s Peace Council directed by Yuri Andropov, the KGB Head and later, Soviet President. Pacepa, who defected, reveals in many writings and books, about Americans who they used to spread the disinformation including John Kerry through the U. S. Peace Councils and their chapters in every state, and most importantly, at every major university!)

    Mikhail Gorbachev interrupted world television with Breaking News at 4pm Eastern to announce the END OF THE SOVIET UNION. READY FOR THE DAY? CHRISTMAS DAY!


    WHAT WORD IS NEXT TO MARX? MARY, the mother of Jesus Christ.

    COMMUNISM? COMMUNION, the body and blood of Jesus Christ!

    The next war is today with Barack Obama, a Marxist, hiding behind “The Man of Peace (Prize)” and again hiding in Christianity. He cancelled the Christian Prayer but then held the Muslim Prayer Breakfast. He bows to Arab Kings and gives state dinners to Chinese Communists while walking out of a meeting with Israel’s Netanyahu last year and tried to upstage Netanyahu again last month but this time was taught a reality lesson live on TV by the Israeli leader while Obama sat there fuming instead of agreeing!

    Obama, and his “Circle of Communists,” have a goal of creating the conditions for the downfall of the United States so as to equal the world’s playing field and revenge for the downfall of his beloved Soviet Union! Notice how the media is treating Vladimir Putin. They show him shirtless riding horses, throwing men twice his size to the ground, playing the piano and singing, and then an interview on Larry King, a man who has never met a Communist he didn’t like!


    THE BEGINNING SENTENCE OF THIS ARTICLE: “The titular leader of Catholics in China in an exclusive July 10 HUMAN EVENTS interview in the rectory of Washington’s St. Mary, Mother of God Church.” NANCY, “ST.MARY” IS THE SIGN! (Please respond and everyone save.)

  • Adam Moreira

    That’s the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The ACLU usually only gets involved when the case is more straightforward.