The Red Flag and the Ring: The Dances Surrounding Sino-Vatican Ties

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This article examines the possibilities of re-established diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Vatican, or the Holy See. It presents this diplomatic dance in historical context and discusses the potential benefits and trade-offs as seen from both sides. The complex relations between multiple Catholic communities within China, especially the “registered” and the “unregistered” church communities, as well as the contentious positions of clerical leadership in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, are discussed. Special attention is given to recent events during the pontificate of Benedict XVI, including the Papal Letter to Chinese Catholics of 2007. Both major actors, the Roman Catholic Church and the People's Republic of China, are treated as dominantly political players attempting to strengthen their hand in a rapidly changing political, social, and economic climate.



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