The Roman Catholic Church is asking China to suspend the consecration of a bishop approved by the state-controlled church but not by the Vatican.
Father Ma Yingling has been appointed bishop of the Kunming diocese by the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and is scheduled to be consecrated on Sunday.
A news agency affiliated with the Vatican said on Saturday that the Roman Catholic bishop of Hong Kong, (Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun), has faxed a request to the diocese of Kunming to postpone the consecration.
The state-sanction CPA does not recognize the authority of the pope in Rome. However, an informal agreement allows the Vatican to review and consent to the consecration of the candidates.
Observers say the appointment of Father Ma may upset efforts to improve relations between the Vatican and the Chinese government.
China has demanded the Vatican cut ties with Taiwan, while the Roman Catholic Church insists on the right to appoint bishops.
Chinese officials say the state-sanctioned church has about four million members, while the Vatican says the Roman Catholic Church in China has some ten million worshippers.
Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.