By a Diplomatic Correspondent.
The announcement made officially from Chungking on June 9 that Mr. Sien Shu-kang, Chinese Charge d'Affnires in Bern, had been appointed lirst Chinese Minister to the Vatican is the only substantial or reliable news we have had of the Catholic position in the Far East since the similar announcement was made about Japan.
It was on March 26 that the Dornei Wireless News made it known that Japan and the Vatican had concluded an agreement to establish diplomatic lelations. 'INC know further that tlw Apostolic Delegate in Japan, who in the first instance. was given diplomatic status for that purpose, has since been replaced by a Nuncio to carry Out the diplomatic duties. We know that Father Jacquinot, who had won Japanese confidence by the relief work he organised in Shanghai, has beeit allowed by the Japanese to go to Hong-Kong for a like purpose, and that the Bishop of Hong-Kong was allowed to help in the work.
DIFFICULTIES WITH CHUNGKING But that is all. News is scarce. It is satisfactory that Japan's example has helped to smooth away the long-standing difficelties against the establishment of conesponding relations between the Vatican and Chungking.
The difficulties began just after the last war, when Clajna tried to obtain representation at the Vatican, but had to abandon the attempt because of a protest from France. The protest was the result of a misdirected, if zealous, sense of guardianship on the part of a country which had indeed played a noble part in taking Catholicism to China: but. of course, no section of the Church can claim tutelage over any other part. There is a common tutelage for all sections. In 1941 again the People's Political Council in China passed a resolution in favour of opening diplomatic relations with the Vatican, but again the project had to be abandoned, this time "owing to the prevailing conditions."
HOW IT WAS SETTLED The contlitims are. of course. difficult when one part of the rout,try is recognised as "China" by Italy, Japan and Germany. while another part is so recognised by Britain. the United States and RusSia. The Holy See. !towel er. is tun concerned with propagandist politics of such a kind. The ruling fact is that Chungking is the seat of a clearly Chilies(' Govern 'tient with authority over the vast majority of the Chinese people, including Catholics.
When. therefore. on March 27 last a Chungking broadcast quoted the Rev. Mathias Kang, head of the Chungking office of the Catholic diocese of Nanking, in virtual protest against the denial to Chungking of what had been granted to Tolcio, the result was a foregone conclusion. Within five days it was announced in Chungking that the renewed request by China for an exchange of diplomatic representatives with the Vatican had been favourably received b) the Holy See (April I). The exchange has now been effected.