CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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What’s in a name?

HONG KONG (UCAN): Chinese propaganda exponents have ordered mainland journalists not to describe the outspoken former bishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun, by the Churchy honorific, the bishop emeritus (former) of the diocese, but instead top employ the everyday term of former.
Xinhua news agency informed its media personnel on the mainland of the new terminology, saying that it is part of a broader list of words and phrases slated to be banned or used with care.
“Former bishop instead of emeritus bishop should be used to address Zen Ze-kiun and other retired bishops of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese,” the state media outlet says in describing the meaning of point number 48.
Cardinal Zen is well known for his loathing of the ruling Communist Party. He has spoken out on political freedom, human rights and religious persecution, especially during his six-and-half years as bishop of Hong Kong up to his retirement in September 2009, often attracting criticism from Beijing in response.
Since then, Cardinal Zen has continued his advocacy and his willingness to get involved in debates over the territory’s political future has made him a favourite of pro-democracy groups in the city.
Most recently he spoke out about the Communist government’s treatment of Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Laureate who died in a Chinese prison on July 13.
The word ban has riled several mainland Catholic bloggers, who are already struggling to deal with a ban on using virtual private networks, a tool for avoiding the Great Firewall Internet censorship system.
“Emeritus bishop. So, come and arrest me?” a Catholic blogger on social media proclaimed.
Another blogger said, “It is the Church practice to call a retired bishop bishop emeritus. It is a departure from reality to change the manner of address.”
The first 45-points on the list of words banned in news coverage was released in November 2015.
The revised one has been circulating since July 19 and has added 57 new ones to the list which was updated in July last year, but only recently leaked to other media.
Cardinal Zen is the only Catholic figure named on the list. He is one of two religious figures whose names were spelled out, the other is the prophet, Mohammed, the father of Islam.
The list reminds reporters to address those with the surname Mohammed by their full name to distinguish them from the prophet.
The list is divided into five categories: social and political; legal and laws; religions and ethnicity; and Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, including sovereignty-related, as well as international relations.
Five out of eight points on religions and ethnicity relate to Islam. One instruction forbids referring to the Hui ethnic group as Muslim; another says not to use the word kill, but slaughter (the correct term) in reference to killing cattle by Muslims; and not to mention pigs in stories related to the Muslim faith. These points were already part of the 2015 list.
Most of the newly added banned or to use with care terms relate to cross-strait relations, due to an increase in political tensions with Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen assumed the presidency, and political tension escalated in Hong Kong.
Point number 48 of the revised list tells media not to name the three Hong Kong organisers of what it specifically refers to as the illegal Occupy Central Movement by the honorific Occupy Trio, but to use the pejorative Ugly Three.

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