The Vatican has thanked Chinese organisations for donating medical supplies to help it combat the coronavirus.
The Holy See press office said on April 9 that the Vatican Pharmacy had received donations from Chinese groups including the Red Cross Society of China and the Jinde Charities Foundation of Hebei Province.
The press office hailed the gifts as “an expression of the solidarity of the Chinese people and Catholic communities with those involved in the relief of those affected by COVID-19 and the prevention of the current coronavirus epidemic.”
It continued: “The Holy See appreciates this generous gesture and expresses its gratitude to the bishops, the Catholic faithful, the institutions and all other Chinese citizens for this humanitarian initiative, assuring them of the esteem and prayers of the Holy Father.”
In February, the Vatican announced that it had sent thousands of face masks to China to help limit the spread of the coronavirus. It had donated between 600,000 to 700,000 masks to the Chinese provinces of Hubei, Zhejiang, and Fujian since January 27, the Global Times, a Chinese state-run news outlet, reported on February 3.
The medical supplies were donated as part of a joint initiative of the Office of Papal Charities and the Missionary Center of the Chinese Church in Italy, in partnership with the Vatican Pharmacy.
China broke off diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 1951, two years after the communist revolution resulted in the creation of the People’s Republic of China.
The Vatican signed a provisional agreement with China in 2018 concerning the appointment of Catholic bishops. The text of the agreement has never been published.
On February 14 this year, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, met Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in Munich, Germany. The encounter was the highest level meeting between officials from the two states since 1949.
The Red Cross Society of China, founded in Shanghai in 1904, is the national Red Cross Society in the People’s Republic of China.
The Jinde Charities Foundation is a Catholic organisation registered in Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province.