Hong Kong Catholic schools called mob training centres

Chinese state media is accusing Hong Kong Catholic schools of supporting pro-democracy protesters and training their students to join protest mobs.

The media comments followed a video showing eight students taking part in air gun shooting practice while parading an American flag on the rooftop of Yu Chun Keung Memorial College, a diocesan school.

Ta Kung Pao, a Chinese Communist Party-run newspaper, says the video is like “violence assault training” and asked if the college had become “a mob training centre.”

A statement from the school says the video is showing its gun club activities and does not represent the school’s views on the increasingly violent pro-democracy protests.

However, Ta Kung Pao linked the video footage to another story showing the school had allowed anti-government demonstrators to take refuge in its church.

“The church providing shelter to the mob wearing black has been criticised by people who say it is collaborating with them,” Ta Kung Pao reported.

“Some worry that the church has become a base for those who are anti-China and anti-Hong Kong.”

The Mother of Good Counsel Parish opened a nearby chapel for people to take shelter in on 3 August when they clashed with police.

Another Communist Party-run newspaper says having a chapel share a building with a Catholic primary school was allowing protesters to hijack the school by using religion as a cover.

That article’s publication prompted a statement from the school, saying the chapel will be open only for parishioners who have an appointment and with security approval.

In the same report, the newspaper also attacked the Catholic Centre (the diocesan bookstore) for uploading a cartoon onto Facebook.

In the picture, Jesus is seen hugging two masked youths wearing helmets and black clothes, a trademark of the demonstrators.

“Kids, tired already? Come to my door!!” the caption says.

The newspaper decried it as “coverage and connivance with violent protesters.”

A diocesan staff member says the picture does not mean the diocese is not taking sides.

“In today’s Hong Kong situation, being attacked [by the media] is not a surprise,” he said.

“But the message of the picture is very mild. It just shows Jesus offering shelter and help to those in need.


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