The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the bishop’s conference said, after meeting on February 25, that they will only ordain bishops “under the leadership of the government” and convert unregistered clergy to the Open Church, according to UCA news. The Open Church requires members to join the Patriotic Association, which is a lay government-controlled organisation that oversees the state-church.

This has led many underground church leaders to refuse to join for fear of government interference. The meeting, held in Beijing, was convened by Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin, a bishop ordained by the Chinese government. It hosted officials from the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) and the Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, which controls all official religious activity in China. READ MORE