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Vatican     HOLY SEE REJECTS BEIJING CRITICISM OVER CANONISATION
The Vatican on Friday rejected Beijing's criticism of Pope John Paul's decision to canonise Chinese martyrs on 1 October, the 51st anniversary of communist rule.
    Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the date of the ceremony was chosen exclusively for religious reasons. Besides being Chinese National Day, October 1 is also the feast of St. Teresa of Lisieux, patroness of missions.
    "Any other interpretation of this date is wrong. There is no political or diplomatic motive or interpretation behind it," he said.
    Navarro was reacting to a Chinese foreign ministry statement on Wednesday hostile to the Vatican.
    "This act by the Vatican is extremely hurtful to the feelings of the Chinese people and to the dignity of the Chinese nation and absolutely will not be tolerated by the government and people of China," the Beijing Foreign Ministry said.
    The 120 martyrs - 87 Chinese and 33 missionaries - were killed between 1648 and 1930, most in the anti-foreign Boxer Uprising in the 19th century.
   
Reuters
   
25 Sep 00



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