National security law needs clarifying says Hong Kong’s bishop

national security law

Hong Kong’s Catholic bishop says the national security law is confusing and needs to be clarified.

Ambiguity has been created in the way Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing authorities use the national security law. This has sown “confusion over what could be said and what could not”, says Bishop Stephen Chow Sau-yan (pictured).

Such a situation is an obstacle for those who want to heal society’s wounds, he says.

In the interview, Chow calls on Hongkongers not to give up; rather, “Sit and watch the clouds rise,” he advises. “It’s time to discern instead of taking action.”

“The difficulty of the national security law lies in not knowing where the red line is. Educators, social workers, and even legal professionals face barriers,” the bishop says.

“Experts and law enforcers might have a different understanding [of the law].

“Everyone needed to know where the boundaries were so they would know how to express themselves”.

With respect to how the crackdown following the 2019 anti-government protests divided Hong Kong’s own Catholic community, Chow urges everyone to play a role in reconciling a deeply wounded society.

He says the Catholic Church is doing its bit and is not lying “flat” and doing nothing in the wake of the social unrest and introduction of the national security law, Chow reports.

“Its institutions and members increased support for young people in jail, by providing education and rehabilitation.”

Calling for patience to heal the wounds of political divisions and deep distrust in society, Chow urges people to adjust their attitude towards others.

“Hong Kong’s biggest crisis now is that different groups only think of their own interests,” he says.

Healing “requires each of us to listen and communicate with each other”.

Asked about relations with Beijing and the renewal of the Agreement with the Holy See on episcopal appointments, Chow says in the interview he hoped to visit the bishops of mainland China and establish ties.

The task entrusted to Hong Kong by John Paul II is to link China’s Catholic community with the universal Church, he adds.

“We hope to have more chances to talk and listen. Don’t worry about brainwashing, [which] implies that we are just brainless.”

Chow finished saying arrangements made to meet Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu fell through after Lee fell ill with COVID.

“I hope he gained the spirit and breadth of mind in Wah Yan,” Chow says. “I understand that he is subject to many political constraints, but it’s good if he is willing to communicate.”


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