Hong Kong Coadjutor Bishop Joseph Zen has described relations between China and the Holy See as "a one-sided affair".
    Speaking to an audience of cardinals and diplomats at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, he said that the Vatican's attitude towards China was "too optimistic", and that he was unhappy with the light tone of remarks on ties between China and the Holy See made by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.
    The London Tablet reports that Cardinal Sodano is said to have remarked at a diplomatic reception in February that he would be ready to transfer the papal nunciature from Taipei to Beijing "this evening" if Beijing agreed. Bishop Zen said he found the tone of the remark "insensitive". When the time came for a decision, it should be taken with due seriousness, he said.
    The bishop was not optimistic about the future of Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of China. He thought progress towards democracy had taken a step back even from British colonial times, and deplored corruption and political interference in judicial matters, which were causing loss of confidence in the government. But he did not think that China had imposed its ideology on Hong Kong. "There is only power and the search for economic development. Marxism is merely the justification of power and is not believed in any more", he said.

10:01am 10/5/99 / The Tablet


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