Basilica di San Pietro in Vatican Photo: VCG

The Holy See has thanked recent donations from China to the Vatican Pharmacy amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, which Chinese observers say shows communication channels between the two being unobstructed and beneficial.

The Red Cross Society of China donated medical supplies to the Vatican Pharmacy in a humanitarian spirit to support the Vatican’s efforts to fight the pandemic and treat the affected, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said during a daily press conference on Friday.

China thinks highly of the Vatican’s long dedication to helping poor areas improve medical and health conditions and contributing to addressing global health emergencies, he noted.

The virus, a common enemy to mankind, sees no difference in nationality, race or religion. China stands ready to work with the international community, including the Vatican, to jointly fight the pandemic and uphold global public health security, Zhao said.

The Vatican sent around 600,000 face masks to China in late January when China was severely hit by the outbreak of COVID-19.

“The channel [between China and the Vatican] in helping each other and communicating is unobstructed and beneficial,” Wang Meixiu, a research fellow specializing in Catholicism studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Saturday.

“When disaster struck, help came from all sides. This is always the traditional custom of the Chinese people,” she said.

“The Holy See appreciates the generous gesture and expresses its gratitude to the Bishops, the Catholic faithful, the institutions and all the other Chinese citizens for this humanitarian initiative”, Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office, was quoted as saying in a statement released on Thursday, according to the Vatican News.

According to the Catholic News Agency, the donations of medical supplies have arrived at the Vatican Pharmacy in recent days through the Red Cross Society of China and a Chinese Catholic foundation.

Yan Kejia, director of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Religious Studies, told the Global Times that fighting the COVID-19 pandemic calls for cooperation. The kind behavior between China and the Vatican shows helping each other can improve people’s mutual understanding and tolerance.

According to the World Health Organization’s statistics, the number of COVID-19-positive cases in Vatican City and among employees of the Holy See now stands at eight, with two having been cured.