Two Chinese Catholic bishops attending a Vatican meeting for the first time following a landmark deal between Beijing and the Holy See said on Tuesday (Oct 16) they have invited Pope Francis to visit.
"While we were here, we invited Pope Francis to come to China," Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai said in an interview with Avvenire, the daily newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference.
"We are waiting for him," Guo said.
Last year the pope said he would like to visit China "as soon as they send me an invitation".
The trip would be of great significance as the Vatican has not had diplomatic relations with Beijing since 1951.
There are an estimated 12 million Catholics in China, divided between a government-run association whose clergy are chosen by the Communist Party, and an unofficial church which swears allegiance to the Vatican.
China has continued on a crackdown against Christianity and Islam though the Catholic Church gota reprieve after entering a deal with the government.
In the deal, the Chinese government will have a say and a pick to the church's bishops and oversight on the kinds of teachings the church engages in.
China is also attempting to rewrite the bible to sort of find a common ground between Christianity and the Communist Party.