Your excellency, let's begin with the issue of the pope's primacy. What do you have to say about this?
The pope is the head of the Church. The apostolic nature of the church consists in the fact that the Church descends from the apostles, starting with Peter as its first leader. The pope has the right to govern and supervise all the Church's activities, including the election of bishops.
We will never deny the pope has the right to do so, since this is an essential element of our Catholic faith. Now the pope's right to govern must be understand as true while in China, however, we have a religious policy sustaining the Church's independent and democratic administration. How can both be compatible?
I think the Holy See and the Chinese government have the means to resolve this issue. The most urgent problem now involves electing new bishops. Under today's circumstances we cannot go ahead and consecrate new bishops without government authorization. If the government is not against the candidate, we then proceed to present him to Rome for approval. Should the pope not give his consent, then the bishop is not consecrated.
What do you have to say about the so-called "underground Church" in China?
All Catholics in China are united under the same faith. As far as I know, the pope respects both communities and urges us toward reconciliation and unity. Some members of the underground Church say we have rebelled against the pope. I belong to the "open Church". But I am not rebellious, since in no way whatsoever do I deny the pope's primacy. We have the same faith and we both support the Holy Father. Hence we should join together in terms of traditional Church organization and doctrine.