Hong Kong Vatican Envoy Warns of Crackdowns

The unofficial representative of the Vatican in Hong Kong Monsignor Javier Herrera-Corona told Catholic missionaries in Hong Kong to prepare for a tough future as China tightens its control over the city. 

“Change is coming, and you’d better be prepared,” Herrera-Corona warned the missionaries.  

“Hong Kong is not the great Catholic beachhead it was,” Herrera-Corona added. 

According to reports, Herrera-Corona urged his colleagues to protect their missions’ properties, files, and funds and to prepare for mainland-style restrictions on religious groups as Hong Kong becomes increasingly integrated with China in the years to come. 

Herrera-Corona’s message came following Beijing’s national security crackdown on Hong Kong in the wake of anti-government protests in 2019. 

Following Herrera-Corona’s warnings, two missionaries and a diplomat said at least three missions have started moving files overseas through protected diplomatic shipments. 

In China, Catholics have long been split between an underground church loyal to the Vatican and a state-backed official church, while there was no official representation in China from the Vatican. 

Last year, officials from the Liaison Office in Beijing organized an event in Hong Kong for the Chinese bishops to brief senior Hong Kong clerics on President Xi Jinping’s vision of religion with “Chinese characteristics.” 

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