08/03/2022 China (International Christian Concern) – On July 15, Francis An Shuxin, the official bishop of the diocese of Baoding, published a “pastoral” letter urging clergy who have not yet registered with the Chinese government to do so immediately. He stated that he would not share the Eucharist with priests who were not registered.
Bishop An’s letter was a manipulation of two important agreements between the Vatican and the Chinese government. The Sino-Vatican agreement of 2018 was an effort from the Vatican to improve relations with China. It gave the Chinese government the ability to vet bishops appointed by the Vatican.
In 2019, the Vatican released another statement that acknowledged the reality that many priests were being forced to register with the state and urged the Chinese government to respect their religion.