Joyce Zhou is a reporter for Reuters.

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State-Backed Bishop Visits Hong Kong; Some Fear Beijing Seeks More Religious Control

Hong Kong's cardinal Stephen Chow holds a Mass in Hong Kong, China November 4, 2023. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

The visit is the first trip by a mainland Chinese bishop since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997 and follows a landmark visit to the Chinese capital by his Hong Kong counterpart in April. For decades mainland Catholics have been split between an official church loyal to Beijing and an underground flock loyal to the Pope and the visit by Bishop Joseph Li will be closely watched given lingering tensions between China and the Vatican.