A Chinese challenge for Pope Francis

After years of strained relations, Beijing and the Vatican City have made tentative steps towards reconciliation, but Catholicism's growing presence in China remains a source of anxiety for the Communist Party.

Pope Francis has been allowed to fly over China’s airspace in a rare gesture of reconciliation from the Communist government in Beijing. The Argentine pontiff sent a radio message to the Chinese population and Communist Party chief Xi Jinping.

“Upon entering Chinese airspace, I extend best wishes to your Excellency and your fellow citizens and I invoke the divine blessing of peace and well-being upon the nation,” said the pope in a radio message.

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