CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Stand guard over One Country Two Systems

HONG KONG (SE): People came together to pray for the integrity of the principle of One Country, Two Systems at an event organised by the Justice and Peace Commission at Park Lane, Tsimshatsui, on July 27. 
Father Carlos Cheung Sam-yui, an invited speaker and a member of the Justice and Peace Commission, called the present implementation of One Country Two Systems worrying. He encouraged those present to hold on to the truth and their consciences even if the reality is disappointing and live out their faith in society.
Father Cheung said according to the principle of subsidiarity, out forward by Pope Leo XIII in his 1891 encyclical, Rerum Novarum (Of New Things), central authorities should not handle those matters that can be dealt with or resolved at the community or family level. 
However, he believes the Hong Kong government has displayed a tendency to attack those with dissenting points of view. He worries that religious communities could also be targets for crackdowns in the future.
He believes people should respect the special place of Hong Kong as an international city and its autonomy. He encouraged those gathered to pray for the government and the for the courage to live out their lives according to their consciences. 
Reverend Lau Chi-hung of the City Concern of Christian Fellowship Hong Kong, who co-organised the prayer service, observed that the One Country Two Systems principle is under increasing pressure following many incidents threatening the city’s autonomy.
These include the disqualification of six lawmakers following a controversial judicial review after they were accused of failing to properly take their oaths of office; the joint checkpoint plan allowing China’s national laws to be used at the West Kowloon terminus for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed rail link; and the recent attempt by the government to ban the Hong Kong National Party in the name of protecting national security. 
He believes Christians should be alert and protect civil rights in a peaceful way.
Legislator, Au Nok-hin, said that freedom of expression and respect for multi-cultural values has been undermined in Hong Kong. The vice-convener of the Civil Human Rights Front noted that people now feel uneasy talking about politics in public places. He has also heard from writers that publishers are trying to avoid publishing books about sensitive issues. 
He urged people to stand up for their civil rights all the more in face of seemingly tighter controls and not to think that by avoiding touching on sensitive issues they have a peaceful life. He believes that whether rights can be protected or not depends on whether people will fight for them and that Christians, especially, should think about how they respond.

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