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Taiwan prelate cancels China visit

Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi says trip is off because Beijing has not issued him an entry permit

Wang Zuo’an, director of mainland China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs, invites Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi (left) to visit the mainland during his Taiwan visit last September Wang Zuo’an, director of mainland China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs, invites Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi (left) to visit the mainland during his Taiwan visit last September
  • Francis Kuo in Taipei and ucanews.com reporter in Hong Kong
  • China
  • June 2, 2011
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An ailing Jesuit cardinal has called off a trip to mainland China next week because Beijing has not issued him with an entry permit.

“I will no longer wait for it,” Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, 88, said.

Speculating as to why he has not been granted the necessary document, Cardinal Shan, who is suffering from lung cancer, said “maybe the timing of the trip is too close to the commemoration of the June 4th Incident”  often referred to as the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.

The Chou Ta-kuan Foundation had arranged for the cardinal, the Fu Jen Catholic University president and an accompanying medical team to visit China on June 5-13.

Everyone got entry permits except the cardinal, said the foundation’s spokesperson.

The original plan was for the cardinal to first visit Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai, who was Cardinal Shan’s classmate when they got their doctorates from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome 60 years ago.

He was then to go to Zhengzhou in Henan province, to give a lecture before visiting Puyang, the town of his birth.

“It’s very regrettable as I was looking forward to welcoming my old friend and Jesuit confrere whom I have known for decades,” said Bishop Jin, 95, after learning the trip was off.

The diocese had invited the cardinal to give a testimony on life and death and concelebrate a Mass and prayer gathering, said Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Xing Wenzhi of Shanghai.

He also expressed his regret at the cancellation of the trip as local Catholics have lost a good opportunity to hear the cardinal’s witness.

Father Stephen of Puyang said he was very disappointed the prelate would not be coming. “A dying old man is not allowed to return home. What else can he still hope for? Our cardinal will probably leave us with sadness, because the authorities did not give us this last chance to meet each other.”

Wang Zuo’an, director of (mainland) China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs, and Liu Yuanlong, a vice-chair of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, had both invited Cardinal Shan to visit the mainland during recent visits to Taiwan.

Cardinal Shan last visited mainland China in 1979, directly before his ordination as Bishop of Hualien diocese in eastern Taiwan.

A Hong Kong-based Church observer thinks the cancellation may not be a bad thing since an illicit bishop ordination would have coincided with the visit.

Related reports
Mainlanders meet Taiwan cardinal for talks
Visiting official invites Taiwan cardinal to China
Teacher-of-life cardinal awarded doctorate

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