CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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A night to remember

HONG KONG (SE): At a Mass celebrated by Father Stephen Chan Mun-hung on September 28 to mark the second anniversary of the beginning of the 79-day sit-in variously dubbed Occupy Central and the Umbrella Movement, long time politician, Martin Lee Chu-ming, commented, “In all of my 22 years in politics, I have never seen people who do not have any experience in politics elected to the Legislative Council (LegCo).”

Lee called it a miracle that in the September 4 elections six young neophytes from the Umbrella Movement were able to inspire sufficient support from the electorate to get past the post.

The former bishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun, also pointed to the record voter turnout on September 4 at the open air Mass celebrated in Admiralty near the government headquarters.

He added that this, coupled with the election of six graduates from the movement, reflects that the controversial sit-in did have an effect and two years on, it has become highly visible.

Around 1,000 people gathered at the LegCo at 6.00pm, the time that the police fired the first teargas canisters on September 28 just two years previously.

Cardinal Zen described the gathering as an expression of the desire for democracy, a desire that he said must be kept alive with persistence, peace and love.

In the face of criticism and resistance, the 83-year-old former bishop of the city said that people should not lose hope.

“Do not be disappointed. Let us insist on using methods that are peaceful, non-radical, non-violent and charged with charity in the fight for social justice,” he commented.

He urged people not to forget that the ambition of the movement was to struggle for a better social system in the territory that cares for human rights.

Many among the 100 or so people who attended the Mass proudly held their yellow umbrellas high, a far cry from the days of the sit-in when they served as a protection against the teargas and pepper spray barrages from the police.

Energy for the movement gained momentum after Beijing issued a white paper and once again postponed yet another step in bringing the special administrative region closer to being a democratic entity.

One of the architects of the movement, Benny Tai Yiu-ting, told the gathering at Admiralty, “Two years ago we came here to fight for democracy in Hong Kong.”

He added that there can be rejoicing as six of those who were present are now sitting in the LegCo, which he called a sign of hope for the future of democracy of the territory, making it a night to remember.

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