Crossword Genius

An apostle not entirely visible in Chinese republic (3,6)


I believe the answer is:

san marino

I'm a little stuck... Click here to teach me more about this clue!

'republic' is the definition.
(San Marino is a European country)

'an apostle not entirely visible in chinese' is the wordplay.
I cannot quite see how this works, but
'an' could be 'i' (Roman numeral for one) and 'i' is found within the answer.
'not' could be 'no' (I've seen this in other clues) and 'no' is located in the answer.
This explanation may well be incorrect...

Can you help me to learn more?

(Other definitions for san marino that I've seen before include "Smallest European republic (24 sq miles)" , "Small European state" , "European microstate" , "Person not holding generally accepted beliefs" , "No marinas in this small Italian republic" .)

I've seen this clue in The Times.
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