Hong Kong Eyes Exhibition of Vatican Artworks

Talks Under Way With Holy See

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 30, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See and Hong Kong authorities are studying the possibility of organizing an exhibition of the Vatican Museums’ works of art in that city in 2006.

According to Eglises d’Asie, an agency of the Paris Foreign Missions, Father Lawrence Lee Len, chancellor of the Diocese of Hong Kong, said he will be happy to mediate between Beijing and Rome so that the initiative can take place.

The South China Morning Post reported that there have been recent contacts between representatives of the Hong Kong government and the Vatican.

Last September, Patrick Ho Chi-ping, secretary of Hong Kong’s Internal Affairs, visited Rome and requested an audience with Archbishop Claudio Celli, secretary of the administration of the patrimony of the Apostolic See, as well as with Monsignor Gianfranco Rota Graziosi, of the Vatican Secretariat of State.

According to a spokesman of Ho Chi-ping, the negotiation of the exhibition has not yet arrived at the level of «technical discussions» among art experts, but the Hong Kong representative «is very interested in the subject, as he thinks the Vatican collections are fascinating.»

According to Anthony Lam Sui-ki, of the Holy Spirit Center of Studies of the Hong Kong Diocese, although the initiative reflects the Holy See’s desire to improve relations with Beijing, it is still not possible to think of a normalization of diplomatic relations.

«It seems more probable that the continent [Beijing] regards this as an exchange of a cultural character more than as an initiative of a diplomatic nature,» he told AsiaNews.

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