Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo has been at pains to portray the Chinese Communist tyranny in a favourable light. The Bishop, who is head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and a close advisor to Pope Francis, affirmed in an interview early this year: “At present, the Chinese are the best at implementing the social doctrine of the Church. The Chinese seek the common good, subordinate things to the general good.”

Bishop Sanchez Sorondo was on a fact-finding mission as an honoured guest of the Communist Party. Between champagne diners, he did have time for some escorted driving around to see China for himself.

And we are puzzled as to what he saw. What “common good” is he referring to? He doesn’t mention the systematic abuse of human rights in China, the forced organ harvesting of prisoners, the ethnic cleansing in Tibet, the slave population languishing in the laogai. He does not even mention the current crackdown on his Catholic co-religionists in China.

Barely able to contain his enthusiasm for the world’s best practitioners of Catholic social teaching, the prelate gushed: “I found an extraordinary China; what people do not know is that the central Chinese principle is work, work, work. I found no shantytowns, you do not have drugs, young people do not take drugs. China is defending the dignity of the person.”

One wonders, though, if the good bishop had an opportunity to ascertain the dignity of the several million prisoners in concentration camps, or the broken bodies in the torture chambers, or the hapless victims of forced organ transplants?

Perhaps not, because he was apparently preoccupied with assessing the beneficial effects of government policies on the environment. The head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences concluded that, in environmental matters, the Communist Party “Is assuming a moral leadership that others have abandoned.”

This bit of moralising aside, the reality is that environmental destruction is taking place on a grand scale on the Tibetan Plateau, as Beijing encourages the grabbing of anything worth grabbing. Environmental experts are alarmed that Tibet’s rivers, the headwaters of a number of major rivers in Asia, are being depleted and polluted by policies being carried out with the encouragement of the central government.

Bishop Sanchez Sorondo might be forgiven for his ignorance of China, as the communist government takes pains to hide the reality from visitors.

(cf. La Stampa, Turin, 2 February 2018; The Catholic Herald, London, 6 February 2018)

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