February 7, 1990
Ambassador Zhu Qizhen
Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Dear Mr. Ambassador:
As you know, Catholics everywhere are keenly interested in the situation of the Catholic Church in China. We at the United States Catholic Conference share that strong interest and were hopeful last year that there was gradual improvement in the human rights area, including freedom of religion for all Chinese. We were encouraged by the more open attitude of your government and the release from detention of a number of bishops and priests.
Then, came the police raids on the Catholics of Hebei province which resulted in many deaths and, in June, the tragic events at Tiananmen Square. We now have reports that Bishop Peter Joseph Fan Xueyan of Paoting, Bishop Liu Guandong of Yixian, Bishop Joseph Li Side of Tianjin, and Father Zhang Gangyi of Sanyuan have been taken into custody by your authorities. These events indicate a retreat from the hopeful developments of a year ago. It is our fervent prayer that your government will recognize that permitting freedom of worship constitutes no threat to the established order and we urge the return to the path of reform and reconciliation.
We would be pleased to receive your views and comments on this expression of our concerns.
Robert T. Hennemeyer
P.S. Also enclosed as of possible interest to you are two recent statements by the U.S. bishops on U.S.-Vietnamese relations and religious liberty in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.