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New talks reported between Vatican, Chinese government

The Vatican has renewed diplomatic talks with Beijing, seeking an end to government persecution of the underground Catholic Church, according to the Far Eastern Economic Review.

The unofficial talks between the Holy See and the Chinese government are not likely to produce formal diplomatic ties, but Vatican officials hope to convince government officials that they can safely relax restraints on the underground Church, which remains loyal to the Holy See.

Today the Communist government allows Catholics to worship only under the auspices of the Patriotic Catholic Association, which is guided by the government. However, many members of the "official" Catholic Church are secretly in league with underground Catholics-- a situation which has prompted government scrutiny of "patriotic" Catholic leaders as well.

The Far East Economic Review reports that Vatican representatives have quietly conducted several rounds of talks with Beijing officials in the early weeks of 2003.

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