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Shanghai Bishop Meets Taiwan Archbishop In Hong Kong

June 9, 1988

HONG KONG (AP) _ The Bishop of Shanghai met Taiwan’s archbishop in Hong Kong today in the highest-level public encounter between religious leaders from Communist China and Nationalist Taiwan.

Bishop Jin Luxian of Shanghai called for early negotiations between China and the Vatican to improve their relationship. The Chinese Catholic church broke ties with the Roman Catholic Church in 1957.

During a recess in an international conference on Confucianism and Christianity, Jin invited Roman Catholic Archbishop Lo Kuang to visit China, which the Taiwan prelate left 58 years ago.

Lo told reporters his health would not permit him to visit the mainland. The Nationalist Chinese fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Communists.

Jin said he conferred for an hour with Lo after arriving here from China on Wednesday. He said they talked about the Catholic church on the mainland and in Taiwan.

Jin said he first met Lo in 1948 when he was studying in Rome and Lo was the Chinese Nationalist Party’s representative at the Vatican.

China’s breakaway Catholic Church claims 3 million members. An unknown number of other Catholics remain secretly loyal to the Pope, and several are imprisoned for their religious beliefs.

Jin said the last two imprisoned priests, Zhu Weifang from Zhejiang province and Chen Tianxiang from Jiangxi province, will be released soon. He gave no other details.

Referring to ties between Beijing and the Vatican, Jin said nothing can be solved without negotiations.

The Shanghai Bishop said he had also invited the newly-elevated Cardinal of Hong Kong, John Baptist Wu, to China.

Wu was named cardinal on May 29 by the pope. Vatican officials described the appointment as especially significant because Hong Kong will revert to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

More than 70 scholars and religious leaders from North American, Europe and Asia are attending the week-long conference in Hong Kong.

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