Please protect people during China’s crackdown

China's crackdown

China’s crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong has led a Catholic prelate to ask regional leaders to put people first.

Give young people a reason to trust authority, Bishop Stephen Chow of Hong Kong suggests in a special message published last Friday.

Among the advantages he lists is a greater sense of unity in a pluralistic Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s past 25 years as a Special Administrative Region “have been very challenging,” he says.

At the same time he acknowledges “the goodness, generosity and resilience we have witnessed among the people of Hong Kong.”

Chow also offered prayers for young people. He asked God to bless those struggling “with empathic understanding and meaningful support from the others”.

He also prayed youth would be empowered by support allowing them “to have dreams again”. He hoped they would be able to “make positive differences for their future and that of Hong Kong”.

He closed pledging his faith in God and asking for God to bestow “abundant blessings on China and the Chinese People”.

Since June 2020, hundreds of Hong Kong activists have been arrested in the crackdown. They include prominent Catholic figures like Cardinal Joseph Zen who is 90 years old..

In March Monsignor Javier Herrera-Corona, the Vatican’s unofficial representative in Hong Kong, referenced a national security crackdown by Beijing on Hong Kong in the wake of anti-government protests in 2019.

He told the city’s 50-odd Catholic missions the freedoms they had enjoyed for decades were over and warned missionary colleagues to protect their missions’ property, files and funds.

“Change is coming, and you’d better be prepared,” Corona warned the missionaries. One says in short Corona warned: “Hong Kong is not the great Catholic beachhead it was.”

The Rev. Jonathan Aitken, a former UK Cabinet minister, says religious freedom in Hong Kong is “next on the hit list by the destructive forces” of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s regime.

He says Xi and his regime are particularly hostile to faith groups.

China’s crackdown on Christians on the mainland is leaving them facing the worst persecution since Mao’s Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, Aitken claims.

He says persecution of Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and Hui Muslims has intensified. He also says China’s persecution of Uyghurs is increasingly being recognised by international critics as genocide.


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