China bans tours to Vatican

China has banned its citizens from visiting the Vatican.

The Vatican is a popular destination with Chinese tourists.

The recent resumption of diplomatic talks between the Vatican and China has prompted an increase in the flow of tourists-pilgrims.

If he realises they are at the Vatican, Pope Francis greets them personally and poses for selfies with them.

Some see their visit in the nature of a pilgrimage while others go because they are curious.

Travel agents have been warned they will be fined up to UK£34,000 if they don’t cancel scheduled tours to St Peter’s and Vatican City.

The Chinese Communist Party says it has established the ban because “there are no diplomatic relations” between China and the Holy See.

However, news reports say relations between China’s ruling Communist Party and the Vatican have been strained since Chinese Catholics fled to Taiwan after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong’s communists in 1949.

The news sources note that, in 1950, a Catholic priest was jailed for his alleged involvement in a plot to assassinate China’s leader, Mao Tse-tung.

China has since indicated a desire to restore relations with the Vatican.

The catch is, the Vatican must agree to sever links with Taiwan, which China sees as a renegade province.

The Vatican is the only European state with which Taiwan has full diplomatic relations.

However, all European Union nations recognise Taiwan as a Chinese territory.

It is not clear what effect, if any, the ban will have on a recently agreed joint cultural exhibition between the Vatican and China.




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