CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 16 June 2018

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We will not be silent for silence belongs to the culprits

HONG KONG (SE): Around 900 people came together for a prayer service on the evening of June 4 at the music kiosk of Victoria Park to remember of the victims in the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing nearly three decades ago and to pray for a peaceful vindication.
 
Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun, the former bishop of Hong Kong, said people gathered not only to mourn the martyrs killed 29 years ago, but also to pray for those whose religious freedom is being suppressed in China at present. 
 
The gathering was organised by the Union of Hong Kong Catholic Organisations in support of the Patriotic and Democratic Movement in China.
 
The cardinal lamented that although nearly three decades have gone by since the Tiananmen Square crackdown, the human rights situation in China as well as in Hong Kong has not shown any improvement and is even getting worse. 
 
He said that what is worrying is that religious supression in China is organised and happening on a large scale; even the freedom of children and young people is being curtailed.
 
As for the situation in Hong Kong, he said the principle of One Country, Two Systems has not been maintained and the judicial system has been reduced to a tool for political suppression. 
 
“It is sad to see that young people fighting for justice are imprisoned,” he said.
 
However Cardinal Zen was quick to remind the gathering not to carry hatred towards anyone. “Today we can be angry here, but we should never bear hatred,” he stressed, explaining that this was the advice of Pope St. John Paul II to the leaders of Solidarity, Poland’s independent labour movement in 1980s. 
 
Quoting the letter to the Romans 12:19, which tells people not to take revenge and to treat their enemies with kindness, the cardinal said that God’s love can make one feel ashamed and bravely repent. 
 
Cardinal Zen told those present to pray for Beijing to experience a change of heart and for a peaceful vindication of the June 4 incident. 
 
He encouraged them not to lose hope but to fight with their faith until the end, knowing even in the darkest moments, God’s rescue will come.
 
Shirley Man Siu-hung, a school social worker, told the Sunday Examiner that she felt compelled to join the commemoration activities in recent years as she heard that some schools have been presenting a biased version of the related history by inviting pro-Beijing politicians to give talks to students in Liberal Studies classes. 
 
In such talks, the students in 1989 are usually described as the ones who caused chaos and forced the government to end the situation in a high-handed manner.
 
Seventy-five-year-old Au Kam-ming, said he would teach his grandchildren what the Tiananmen crackdown is about as this sensitive part of history is not thoroughly covered in their school education and they end up knowing little about it.
 
Biddy Kwok Tsui-yi said witnessing the painful history 29 years ago transformed her from a non-practising Catholic to one who lives her faith. She believes using violence to crack down on students is obviously wrong from any point of view. 
 
She remembered her anger about the governance in China led her to join a rally with other parishioners on 20 May 1989 despite the typhoon signal number eight being raised and, a day later, participating in the biggest rally in Hong Kong history with one million people turning out.  
 
Ever since, she has attended every candlelight vigil to remember the victims. 
 
However, Kwok agrees with Cardinal Zen that one should not bear hatred. She is waiting for vindication in a peaceful way but she will never keep silent as silence only belongs to culprits.
 
After a closing prayer led by Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, people joined the big candlelight vigil, organised by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, in which an estimated 115,000 people packed into all six football pitches of Victoria Park, creating an end to end sea of light. 
 
Masses were celebrated in memory of the victims and their families at Holy Cross Church, Sai Wan Ho; Holy Redeemer Church, Tuen Mun; St. Margaret’s Church, Happy Valley; St. Bonaventure Church, Tsz Wan Shan; and St. Francis Church, Ma On Shan; between May 30 and June 1. 

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