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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jiaochao's Remarks on the Death of Pope John Paul II

Q: Pope John Paul II passed away on April 3, Beijing time. Will the Chinese side send a telegram of condolences and dispatch representatives to attend the memorial activities? How does China evaluate Pope John Paul II and what expectations does China have for his successor?

A: We would like to express our condolences on the death of Pope John Paul II. To my knowledge, the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and Chinese Catholic Bishops College have, on behalf of the Chinese Catholic priests and believers, sent a telegram of condolences to Vatican.

Pope John Paul II once made an apology to the Chinese people for the wrongdoings made on them by some people in the church in history. He also pointed out that "the bonds between the Vatican and Chinese Catholics, which is of religious nature, should not undermine the solidarity of the Chinese nation, even to the least extent. Nor should it weaken the independence and sovereignty of China in any form." These remarks are conducive to better China-Vatican relations.

The Chinese government holds two basic and consistent principles in handling China-Vatican relations. Based on those principles, we are ready to improve our relationship with Vatican. We hope the Roman Catholic Church, under the leadership of the new pontiff, could create favorable conditions for the improvement of China-Vatican relations.

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