China

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
China is now protected by a Russian S-400 Triumf missile system.

2019-01-11 - China successfully completes trials of S-400 defense system
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/china-successfully-completes-trials-of-s-400-defense-system-tass/



China has carried out a second successful test firing of the S-400 Triumf missile system purchased from Russia, wrapping up its trials, a military-diplomatic source told TASS on Thursday.

“The second test firing of the S-400 was carried out in December last year at a Chinese firing ground. The 48N6E missile fired by the system’s launcher hit an aerodynamic target [simulating an aircraft] flying at a speed of more than 600 meters per second,” the source said.

China has become the first buyer of the Russian S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems. Under the contract, Russia will deliver two regiment sets of S-400 air defense missile systems to China.


2019-01-10 - China releases footage of its ‘mother of all bombs’
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/china-releases-footage-of-its-mother-of-all-bombs-video/



China has released footage of its new “mother of all bombs” that was tested in an undisclosed location:

 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Chinese President Xi Jinping dropped in on surprised diners at a small Beijing restaurant and chatted with deliverymen on Friday on an apparently unscripted visit ahead of next week’s Lunar New Year holiday.

February 1, 2019 - China's Xi surprises Beijingers with casual Pre-New Year visit

China's Xi surprises Beijingers with casual pre-new year visit

Xi last year visited villagers in a poor southwestern part of China, to press home his campaign against poverty.

On Friday, state television showed Xi walking into the restaurant in a southern district of Beijing known for its traditional alleyways and courtyards, asking how much the food was and how long the owners had been in the city.

As diners stood up to take pictures, Xi told them not to stop eating on his account.

“I’m just passing through,” he said.

Still, Xi was almost certainly accompanied by his security detail throughout, even if they were not directly shown in the television footage.

The week-long holiday, starting on the eve of the New Year, on Monday, is the most important in the Chinese calendar, when millions of people travel home, many for the only time in the year.


BEIJING - Former U.S. military contractor Erik Prince had “no knowledge or involvement” in a preliminary memorandum signed by a Hong Kong-listed company to build a training base in China’s far western region of Xinjiang, his spokesman said on Friday.
February 1, 2019 - Erik Prince had 'no knowledge' of training agreement in China's Xinjiang: spokesman

Erik Prince had 'no knowledge' of training agreement in China's...

Xinjiang is a major part of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure network but the region has faced attacks blamed on members of the Muslim ethnic Uighur minority. Beijing has responded with a security clampdown condemned by rights groups and Western governments.

Frontier Services Group (FSG), a Hong Kong-listed company founded by Prince, said in a Chinese-language statement posted on its website on Jan. 22 that it had signed a deal to build a training center in southern Xinjiang.

Reuters reported on the statement on Thursday. A Prince spokesman told Reuters on Friday that Prince had “no knowledge or involvement whatsoever with this preliminary memorandum regarding the company’s activity in Xinjiang.”

“Any potential investment of this nature would require the knowledge and input of each FSG Board member and a formal Board resolution,” the spokesman said in an email.

Prince is deputy chairman, a minority shareholder and a board member of FSG, a security, logistics and insurance provider.

The former U.S. Navy SEAL officer is the brother of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. He founded the U.S. military contractor formerly called Blackwater that drew international scrutiny and faced lawsuits for shootings and other conduct in Iraq. It now operates as Virginia-based Academi.

A Hong Kong-based spokesman for FSG told Reuters on Friday that the statement was “published in error by a staff member in Beijing” and had been taken off FSG’s website.

The removed statement had said that FSG signed a deal with the Kashgar Caohu industrial park in Tumxuk city in southern Xinjiang to build a training center.

The Tumxuk government did not answer a phone call seeking comment on Friday.

The statement did not provide details but said a signing ceremony in Beijing on Jan. 11 was attended by officials from Tumxuk city and CITIC Guoan Construction, owned by state-run conglomerate CITIC Group, which took a controlling stake in FSG last March.

A state media report had said FSG would invest 4 million yuan ($600,000) in the center, which will have the capacity to train 8,000 people a year.

In a March 2018 stock exchange filing, FSG said that it intends to set up a “secured logistics business” in Pakistan and Xinjiang.

In May 2017, it acquired a 25 percent stake in a security training facility in Beijing, which it said was the largest such school in China and would allow FSG to provide “world-class training courses” to Chinese companies.

Hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained in the security clampdown in Xinjiang.

China has defended the measures as “de-radicalization” that has prevented violence by providing vocational training to people susceptible to “extremist” thought.

China punishes 3,000 people in organized crime crackdown: state media
China has punished 3,021 people in a crackdown on organized crime and the local "protective umbrellas" that allow it to operate, state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday, citing a government anti-crime task force.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
China's top anti-corruption body will target "political deviation" this year along with continued efforts to stamp out graft, it said on Tuesday, as part of a long-running campaign to improve discipline in the ruling Communist Party.
FILE PHOTO - Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan" at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China January 2, 2019. REUTERS/Mark Schiefelbein/Pool

February 19, 2019 - China's top graft buster to go after 'Political deviation'
China's top graft buster to go after 'political deviation'
The headquarters of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China is pictured in Beijing, China February 10, 2018. Picture taken February 10, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee
The headquarters of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China is pictured in Beijing, China February 10, 2018. Picture taken February 10, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

President Xi Jinping has presided over a sweeping corruption crackdown since coming to power in 2012, vowing to target both “tigers” and “flies”, referring to elite officials and ordinary bureaucrats.

The campaign has led to the jailing or punishment of thousands of officials and also brought down dozens of senior party and military officials.

The anti-corruption effort has not only focused on issues like bribery and using public money to fund lavish lifestyles. It has also taken aim at those whose political loyalty is found lacking or who express doubt in public about party policies.

In comments carried on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission, Wang Ying, deputy head of the inspection team, said this year they will “deepen political inspections” and “uncover political deviation”. She did not elaborate.

Special effort will be made to find problems in the implementation of party policies and major party decisions, as well as rooting out corruption and “undesirable work styles”, Wang added.

The graft watchdog routinely sends out inspection teams to government ministries and provincial governments, which then issue reports detailing problems found and how they intend to rectify them.


China has rebuffed criticism that the campaign is as much about settling political scores as about stamping out genuine criminal acts.

But several high profile corruption cases have made mention of specific political crimes officials were suspected of, along with actual criminal behavior like taking bribes.

Former party boss of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, Sun Zhengcai, was accused by the party of having inflated political ambitions and of damaging the party’s image. Sun was jailed last year for life for corruption.

Vice President Wang Qishan, a close ally of Xi’s and formally in charge of the war on corruption, wrote in 2017 that the country had to step up vigilance against plots to grab power, as political corruption is the worst form of corruption.

Xi has warned, like others before him, that the corruption problem is so severe it could affect the party’s grip on power.


A Chinese military court sentenced a senior general who had been chief of a top defense department to life in prison on Wednesday after finding him guilt of corruption, state news agency Xinhua reported.
February 20, 2019 - Senior Chinese General jailed for life for graft

Senior Chinese general jailed for life for graft
FILE PHOTO: Chief of the general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Gen. Fang Fenghui attends a meeting with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford (not pictured) at the Bayi Building in Beijing, China August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Chief of the general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Gen. Fang Fenghui attends a meeting with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford (not pictured) at the Bayi Building in Beijing, China August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

China’s military, which is the world’s largest and is in the midst of a modernization campaign, has been an important focus of President Xi Jinping’s battle to stamp out corruption.

The senior general, Fang Fenghui, who had accompanied President Xi Jinping to his first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in 2017, was replaced as chief of the Joint Staff Department of the People’s Liberation Army later that year with no explanation.

The government later confirmed he was being investigated on suspicion of corruption.

Fang was subsequently replaced as a member of the Central Military Commission, headed by Xi and which controls the armed forces, at a five-yearly Communist Party congress in October 2017, as part of a sweeping military leadership reshuffle.

Xinhua said a court martial had found Fang guilty of bribery and having huge wealth that he had been unable to account for.

His illicit assets will be confiscated and given to the government, it added, without elaborating.

Zhang Yang, who served on the commission alongside Fang, committed suicide in November 2017 while being investigated for corruption and over his links to Guo and Xu.


Wary of Xinjiang backlash, China invites waves of diplomats to visit
China is stepping up its diplomatic outreach over controversial camps in its heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang, inviting more foreign diplomats to visit as it seeks to head off criticism from Muslim-majority countries and at the United Nations.

China's desire for close Iran ties unchanged, Xi says ahead of Saudi prince's visit
China's desire to develop close ties with Iran will remain unchanged, regardless of the international situation, President Xi Jinping told the speaker of Iran's parliament, ahead of Thursday's visit to Beijing by Saudi Arabia's crown prince.

Chinese 'Ivory Queen' smuggler sentenced to 15 years jail in Tanzania
A prominent Chinese businesswoman dubbed the "Ivory Queen" was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Tanzanian court on Tuesday for smuggling the tusks of more than 350 elephants, weighing nearly 2 tonnes, to Asia.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Members of the ruling elite of China's governing Communist Party have written to President Xi Jinping to tell him of their efforts to "strengthen education" of their families, state media said on Thursday, part of Xi's stringent anti-graft campaign.

February 28, 2019 - China's ruling elite tell Xi they have 'strengthened education' of families

China's ruling elite tell Xi they have 'strengthened education' of...
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan" at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China January 2, 2019. REUTERS/Mark Schiefelbein/Pool
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan" at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China January 2, 2019. REUTERS/Mark Schiefelbein/Pool

Upon assuming power in late 2012, Xi has waged war on deep-seated corruption, with dozens of senior officials imprisoned.

Part of that campaign has been to stop top people from allowing relatives to abuse their connections for personal gain, and to stop senior officials from unduly benefiting their families.

The 25 members of the Politburo, the second most important of the party’s governing inner core,
wrote to Xi outlining their work, pledging primarily their loyalty to Xi and his agenda, the official Xinhua news agency said, offering a broad outline of the contents of their work reports.

Politburo members also pledged to strictly follow anti-corruption rules, Xinhua said.

“Comrades of the Politburo strictly enforce the rules of honesty and self-discipline of party members and leading cadres ... and strengthen the education management of relatives and staff around them,” the report added. It did not provide details.


China's ruling Communist Party warned party members to stick to Marx and Lenin and not believe in "ghosts and spirits" or practice "liberalism", in the latest effort to root out superstitious practices and further tighten party control.
February 27, 2019 - China warns party members to stick to Marx, not 'ghosts and spirits'

China warns party members to stick to Marx, not 'ghosts and spirits'
FILE PHOTO: Men check on a light installation in a shape of the party flag of the Communist Party of China, that is set up to celebrate the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year, in Jining, Shandong province, China January 29, 2019. Picture taken January 29, 2019.  REUTERS/Stringer
FILE PHOTO: Men check on a light installation in a shape of the party flag of the Communist Party of China, that is set up to celebrate the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year, in Jining, Shandong province, China January 29, 2019. Picture taken January 29, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

China officially guarantees freedom of religion for major belief systems such as Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, but party members are meant to be atheists and are especially banned from participating in what China calls superstitious practices such as visiting soothsayers.

A lengthy statement on how best to strengthen the party’s role and its leadership, issued on the official Xinhua news agency on Wednesday, said Marxism was the guiding thought for China and the party. ”Resolutely prevent not believing in Marx and Lenin and believing in ghosts and spirits, not believing in the truth and believing in money,” the party statement said.

“Resolutely oppose all forms of mistaken thought that distorts, misrepresents or negates Marxism,” it said.


President Xi Jinping said last year the party’s decision to stick with the political theories of Karl Marx remained “totally correct”. He was marking the 200th anniversary of the German philosopher’s birth.


A senior Chinese diplomat expressed "deep concern" over the escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan on Wednesday, after the two countries said they shot down each other's fighter jets.
February 27, 2019 - China expresses 'deep concern' over India-Pakistan conflict
China expresses 'deep concern' over India-Pakistan conflict
FILE PHOTO: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a joint news conference with Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Minister Chyngyz Aidarbekov (not pictured) at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee
FILE PHOTO: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a joint news conference with Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Minister Chyngyz Aidarbekov (not pictured) at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

State Councillor Wang Yi, the Chinese government’s top diplomat made the comments in a telephone conversation with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

Qureshi telephoned Wang to inform him of the latest developments in the conflict and to express hope that China would continue to play a “constructive role” in easing tensions, the statement said.

Wang “reiterated his hope that both Pakistan and India will exercise restraint and earnestly fulfill their commitments to preventing the expansion of the situation,” and said the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected, the statement said.


China urges 'objective' view of Xinjiang after Turkey criticism
Countries should take an "objective" view of Chinese policy in Xinjiang and stop saying the wrong thing, China's government said on Wednesday, after Turkey and Britain voiced concern at China's alleged mistreatment of Uighurs and other Muslims there.

China says Taiwan talks must benefit 'reunification'
China can talk to Taiwan as long as it helps promote peaceful development and "reunification", Beijing said on Wednesday, after the island's main opposition party said it could sign a peace treaty if it wins a presidential election next year.

Trump says China has been 'a big help' with North Korea
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had spoken a lot about China during their summit in Vietnam but North Korean was not taking orders from anyone.

China's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that it hopes dialogue and communication between the United States and North Korea can continue.
February 28, 2019 - China says hopes US, North Korea dialogue can continue

China says hopes U.S., North Korea dialogue can continue
FILE PHOTO:  Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang answers questions about a major bus accident in North Korea, during a news conference in Beijing, China April 23, 2018.  REUTERS/Jason Lee
FILE PHOTO: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang answers questions about a major bus accident in North Korea, during a news conference in Beijing, China April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular news briefing in Beijing that both sides had shown sincerity after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un failed to reach an agreement on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula at their summit in Vietnam.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Around 3,000 delegates to the annual gathering of China's largely rubber-stamp parliament, the National People's Congress, will meet in Beijing on March 5 to discuss political and economic policy.

February 28, 2019 - Factbox: What to expect from China's Annual meeting of Parliament next week

Factbox: What to expect from China's annual meeting of parliament...
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang addresses delegates during the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang addresses delegates during the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Here is an overview of China’s top legislature and this year’s meeting, which will last around 10 days.

ISSUES: Top of the agenda this year is passing a new foreign investment law to replace existing laws that regulate joint ventures and wholly foreign-owned enterprises, and is designed to ease foreign concerns about China’s investment environment.

FUNCTIONS: The NPC meets yearly in March to pass major bills, approve the budget and endorse personnel nominations. Its Standing Committee meets regularly to approve other legislation.

MEMBERSHIP: Delegates represent China’s 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, as well as Hong Kong, Macau and the military. There are also delegates for self-ruled Taiwan, mostly made up of defectors and their descendants but not elected by Taiwan’s people.

VOTES: Votes always follow the Communist Party’s wishes and generally pass by an overwhelming majority, but delegates have in the past strayed from the party line to show frustration over issues such as corruption and crime.

MEETINGS: Parliament meets in the Great Hall of the People to the west of Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing. The main auditorium can seat 10,000 people.
China looks to parliament for reassurances as economy slows
China's leaders will pledge in parliament next week to keep the country on safe footing as the economy faces its biggest test in years, amid pressure to roll out more measures to bolster growth and revive weak business and consumer confidence.

China's envoy says Turkish Uighur criticism could hit economic ties
Turkey risks jeopardizing economic ties with China if it keeps criticizing Beijing's treatment of Uighur Muslims, China's envoy to Ankara warned, just as Chinese firms are looking to invest in Turkish energy and infrastructure mega-projects.

China says Canada has questions to answer on judicial independence
China's Foreign Ministry grabbed a chance to question the state of judicial independence in Canada on Friday, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government faced accusations at home that it had tried to intervene to stop a corruption trial.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
China is beginning to follow a path similar to recent developments in economic incentives by President Putin in Family planning.

China lawmakers urge freeing up family planning as birth rates plunge
A graduate of Ayi University, a training program for domestic helpers, holds the child of a potential employer and talks to a staff member in Beijing, China December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Delegates to China's parliament are urging the overhaul or even scrapping of controversial family planning rules and say radical steps are needed to "liberate fertility" and reverse a decline in births and a rapidly shrinking workforce.

Afford me not: Soaring bride prices in China should be curbed, says parliament delegate
Runaway "bride prices" are making marriage unaffordable in rural China and need to be capped, and professional matchmakers should be stopped from overcharging, says a village delegate to China's parliament.

China official says West using Christianity to 'subvert' power
Western forces are trying to use Christianity to influence China's society and even "subvert" the government, a senior official said, warning that Chinese Christians needed to follow a Chinese model of the religion.

U.S. says China's treatment of Muslim minority worst abuses 'since the 1930s'
The U.S. State Department on Wednesday slammed human rights violations in China, saying the sort of abuses it had inflicted on its Muslim minorities had not been seen "since the 1930s."

1.5 million Muslims could be detained in China's Xinjiang: academic
A leading researcher on China's ethnic policies said on Wednesday that an estimated 1.5 million Uighurs and other Muslims could be held in so-called re-education centers in Xinjiang region, up from his earlier figure of 1 million.

China says Xinjiang has 'boarding schools', not 'concentration camps'
(L-R) Nayim Yasen, deputy director of the Ethnic Affairs Committee of the National PeopleÕs Congress (NPC), Shewket Imin, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, Xinjiang Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, Xinjiang Chairman Shohrat Zakir, and Sun Jinlong, party secretary of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region Production and Construction Corps, attend the meeting of Xinjiang delegation on the sidelines of the NPC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

China is running boarding schools not concentration camps in the far western region of Xinjiang, its governor said on Tuesday, as the United States called conditions there "completely unacceptable".

China hits back at 'prejudiced' U.S. with own rights criticism
Citing poor media freedoms, racism and "ideological prejudice", China hit back on Thursday in unusually strong terms after the U.S. State Department slammed China's rights record, including equating abuses on its Muslim minorities with the 1930s.

Google's work in China benefiting China's military: U.S. general
FILE PHOTO: A Google sign is seen during the China International Import Expo (CIIE), at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

The United States' top general said on Thursday that the Chinese military was benefiting from the work Alphabet Inc’s Google was doing in China, where the technology giant has long sought to have a bigger presence.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
China's anti-corruption watchdog said on Saturday it would prosecute Nur Bekri, one of the highest-ranking Uighur officials in the country, over allegations of graft and corruption during his time as governor of Xinjiang province.

China to prosecute top-ranking Uighur official for corruption
Nur Bekri, Chairman of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, attends a news conference during the annual session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), in Beijing March 7, 2010. Picture taken March 7, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Nur Bekri, Chairman of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, attends a news conference during the annual session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), in Beijing March 7, 2010. Picture taken March 7, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Lee

The decision comes after authorities launched an investigation in September into Bekri, who as governor between 2008-2014 held the second-highest position of power in the region behind party secretary.

Bekri, who until December was director of China’s National Energy Administration, could not be reached for comment.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a statement that Bekri obstructed the investigations and did not tell the truth during the probe.

It said the investigation had found that he took advantage of his position to obtain “a huge amount of wealth”, either directly or through relatives. He also allegedly demanded the provision of luxury sedans and chauffeur services to his family members, and received bribes.

Bekri “led an extravagant life, was morally corrupt, and used his power for sex,” the statement alleged.


His prosecution comes as the Chinese government ramps up surveillance and suppression of Uighurs in Xinjiang, a group it has long considered prone to dangerous religious extremism.

As governor, Bekri supported policies that restricted religious practices of the Muslim Uighurs, who make up a majority of the overall Uighur population.

Ex-U.S. intelligence officer pleads guilty to attempted espionage for China
FILE PHOTO:  U.S. and Chinese flags are placed for a joint news conference by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A former U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency officer pleaded guilty to attempted espionage for China, the Justice Department said on Friday.

Chinese delegation to visit Argentina to discuss stalled nuclear deal: government source
FILE PHOTO: Argentina's President Mauricio Macri (3rd L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping (R) take part in a meeting during the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington April 1, 2016.  Argentine Presidency/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.

A delegation from China will visit Argentina this month to discuss the construction of a nuclear power plant, signaling potential progress in a deal that could increase Beijing's deepening influence in the South American nation.

Activists in Hong Kong and Taiwan feel heat as China fears 'separatist' collusion
Military honour guards attend a flag-lowering ceremony at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

As Beijing grows wary of pro-independence groups seeking to forge closer ties in Hong Kong and Taiwan, activists say they are coming under increased surveillance and harassment from pro-China media outlets and unofficial "operatives."
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
A top Vatican official says China's government should not fear "distrust or hostility" from the Roman Catholic Church, writing amid speculation over whether President Xi Jinping will meet Pope Francis this week.

As Xi heads to Italy, Vatican says China should not fear Church
FILE PHOTO: China's President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with Portugal's Parliamentary President Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues at the Parliament in Lisbon, Portugal, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes/File Photo

Senior Vatican sources have said Francis is willing to meet Xi and that intermediaries had made overtures to the Vatican, but the Chinese side had not yet formally asked for a meeting. Any encounter would be the first between a Chinese leader and a pope.

Xi’s visit, starting Thursday, is his first to Italy following a historic agreement in September between the Vatican and the Chinese government on the appointment of bishops in China.

Beijing cut diplomatic ties with the Vatican in 1951 and has remained concerned that an independent Church in China could threaten its authority.

While the historic September agreement initiated an unprecedented direct dialogue between the Vatican and China, Beijing and the Holy See have not resumed diplomatic, relations.


It is routine for heads of state and government visiting Italy to also meet the pope. A Vatican source said it could be inserted into Xi’s schedule “at the last minute”. A Vatican spokesman said it is not on the pope’s schedule.

Italy's drive to join China's Belt and Road hits potholes

FILE PHOTO: Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a news conference at the end of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China May 15, 2017.  REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
The ancient Silk Road was a network of trading routes that stretched from China to Italy, transporting goods, skills and ideas half way around the world.

Premier Li says China opposes Taiwan independence
China maintains a "one-China" policy and opposes independence for Taiwan, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday at his annual news conference.

China says Korea peninsula problems cannot be resolved in one stroke
Resolving problems on the Korean peninsula cannot be achieved in one stroke, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday.
 
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