China’s head of religious affairs on his current tour of the United States offered to establish ties with the Vatican if the Holy See was prepared to accept certain preconditions. Ye Xiawen, head of the State Administration for Religious Affairs speaking at China’s Embassy in Washington D.C. made it clea: “China’s religious affairs brook no intervention by foreign forces” and claimed his nation respects the right of religious freedom. The two major preconditions for restoring ties were acceptance by the Vatican of the “One China” concept and promises there would not be any attempt by Catholic officials to interfere in the internal affairs of China.
China tells the world it respects religious freedom, but continues its harsh policy against the people of Tibet and the Dalai Lama. Of course, the key issue is the meaning of what constitutes “interference in the internal affairs” of China.