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China obliges its travel agencies to withdraw tours to the Vatican

Two Chinese tourist agencies have been fined for offering tours to the Vatican, a country with which China broke diplomatic relations more than 60 years ago, so these and other companies in the sector have been forced to withdraw that destination in their travels, informed the pro-government newspaper Global Times.

Beijing, Nov 24 (EFE). - Two Chinese tourism agencies have been fined for offering tours to the Vatican, a country with which China broke diplomatic relations more than 60 years ago. These and other companies in the sector have been forced to withdraw that destination in their travels, the official newspaper Global Times reported.

Agencies fined are Tuniu and Tongcheng, which received a sanction of 300,000 yuan (45,562 dollars / 38,453 euros) for conducting business with countries that are not on the list of destinations authorized by the authorities (another one to which offered tours was the peaceful archipelago of Palau, also without ties to China).

The measures are the result of a recent inspection of the Chinese tourism authorities at the agency offers this autumn and next winter.

The list of destinations authorized by China is made up of 127 countries (Panama was included in the list last week after establishment of diplomatic ties between both governments, which led to the breaking of official ties between the Panamanian authorities and those of Taiwan).

The exclusion of the Vatican Surprised by the fact that Italy is an authorized destination for Chinese tourists, and there are no border limits between the Holy See and the rest of the city of Rome, so it is difficult that the entry of Chinese tourists can be controlled if they are in the Italian capital.

In addition, these measures were reported at a certain moment of closeness between China and the Vatican, for the joint decision to cooperate in the celebration of two historic art exhibitions.

In 2018, the Vatican Museums and the Forbidden City will exchange some 40 valuable pieces of their collections for the celebration of an exhibition in the Holy See and another in Beijing that mark an unprecedented collaboration.

China and the Vatican broke their ties diplomats in 1951, after the then newly created Maoist regime expelled Catholic missionaries from that country, and they are still confronted by issues such as appointment of bishops, since Beijing does not accept that Rome designates ecclesiastical positions in Chinese territory.

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