CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 14 September 2019

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Ban on students from China leaves Macau bishop perplexed

MACAU (SE): Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang said that he is quite mystified over a refusal by the mainland authorities to allow 60 students to come from China to study at the Catholic university in his diocese of Macau.

The revamped University of Saint Joseph had requested the extra students to boost its enrollment, as it is trying to increase its student body above its current level of 1,300, especially as new facilities are set to open next year in the newly developed Ilha Verde Campus.

The Macau Daily Times quoted Bishop Lee as saying that fear maybe is the key, as he cannot think of any other reason the simple request would be refused.

“Fear that we educate some Catholics and clash against the government,” he reasoned. “I don’t know; that’s the only reason I can see,” the daily quoted Bishop Lee as saying.

It also quoted a local person as saying that maybe the reason lies in the fact that Bishop Lee is still an unknown quantity and China wants to observe him for a while before making up its mind about whether it can trust him or not.

Bishop Lee was only installed around one month ago and he came from Hong Kong, so possibly the mainland authorities want to see what influence the turbulent environment has had upon him.

While he was outspoken on this issue, it remains to be seen if he will be equally as outspoken on issues that do not affect the Church directly.

Bishop Lee said that he believes that the Church can have good relations with all countries, including China. He told Teledifusão de Macau, “The relationship with China has been getting on so well. But now suddenly they reject our request.”

 

He added that he believes the Church is capable of helping China both spiritually and with funding for social development, but stressed, “We have to abide by the One Country Two Systems. Our role is quite passive in the sense that we can help if they want us to help.”

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