First Catholic named vice chairman of Chinese National People's Congress
The election of a government-recognised bishop as the first Catholic in the leadership of China's top legislative body has drawn varying reactions from mainland Church leaders and Church-in-China observers.
Bishop Michael Fu Tieshan of Beijing, 62, was elected as one of 15 vice chairpersons of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress, China's legislature.
Anthony Liu Bainian of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association told UCA News that Bishop Fu's new position reflects the trust people have in the Catholic Church and affirms the government's policy of religious freedom.
But a priest of the "underground" Church in Anhui province said Catholics not affiliated with the government-approved "open" Church worry Bishop Fu will use his status in the government to suppress them more.
Centre for Religious Freedom: Urgent Action
9 Apr 2003