CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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A call for unity on the Tiananmen anniversary

HONG KONG (AsiaNews): In response to a decision taken by the Hong Kong Federation of Students not to take part in the annual memorial candlelight vigil for those who died at Tiananmen Square on 4 June 1989, the former bishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun, said that unity and cooperation must be cherished in order to achieve anything realistic.

Cardinal Zen said on May 23 that a great and long battle for freedom and democracy is underway in Hong Kong and to achieve this goal, all social strata must be united; unity and cooperation are needed.

He stressed that any leap in faith without thoughtful reflection does not mean anything and is unrealistic.

For the first time in 27 years, the student group has decided not to join the pro-democracy movement at the vigil, which is held on the evening of June 4 in Victoria Park.

The traditional vigil attracts tens of thousands of people each year and on occasions has hosted up to around 200,000.

Led by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, Hong Kong people come together once a year to remind mainland leaders of their political and moral responsibility in the slaughter of students and workers in 1989, as well as to call for their rehabilitation.

In announcing its decision not to take part in the vigil, the Federation of Students stated that its views are different from those of the Alliance, which seeks to build a democratic China.

Students’ groups say it is more important to concentrate on Hong Kong’s democratic development without reference to the democratisation of the mainland.

Instead, two gatherings will take place, one at the University of Hong Kong and the other at the Chinese University.

But Cardinal Zen says that this is unrealistic. “Hong Kong is a part of China and this brooks no discussion. These young people are doing their own thing and refusing to listen. I feel sorry, but we live in a free society,” he reflected.

“What is sad is that they lack the maturity to understand that today more than ever we need unity and cooperation to win this great and long battle for democracy,” the cardinal continued.

He said that young people claim that they are different from the older generation.

“They believe they have the winning ideas, which we are supposed not to have. Yet, without old people who have been fighting for decades, Hong Kong would have been swallowed up Beijing long ago,” the aged bishop concluded.

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