Beijing sends art, blocks tourism to the Vatican


The Vatican and Beijing have had a rocky relationship over the decades, to say the least. The Holy See has saw fit to remain the only sovereign nation in Europe to maintain an official diplomatic recognition of the government of Taiwan, and refuses to allow Beijing the authority to appoint bishops. These sticking points led to a breakdown in negotiations for a normalization of relations in the last year which at first appeared promising, but quickly turned cold.

Two new developments between the center of the Catholic church and China:

  • The two sides will exchange art, even as official relations stay frozen, the Guardian reports.
  • The Vatican museums will send 40 pieces to be displayed at Beijing’s Forbidden City, including 39 of its 20,000 piece-strong collection of Chinese art, and one Western Christian piece.
  • Beijing will in turn send 40 pieces to be displayed at the Vatican’s Anima Mundi Museum. Both exhibitions will happen in March.
  • But all is not smiles in their tense relations, because Radio Free Asia reports that a number of tourism organizations throughout China received an order to cease offering packages to the Vatican.