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The Catholic Church in China ordained its first bishop since Beijing and the Vatican renewed an agreement on episcopal appointments last month. But Monday’s sign of better relations between Rome and Beijing was followed swiftly by friction over Pope Francis’s first criticism of China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims.
Bishop Thomas Chen Tianhao was ordained as bishop of Qingdao, in the eastern province of Shandong, according to the Communist Party tabloid Global Times, which said it was the first such ordination since the renewal of the pact.
China’s estimated 10 million to 12 million Catholics have been split for more than half a century between those registered with the government-controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and a so-called underground Catholic community loyal only to Rome.