CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Prayers as Umbrella Movement participants await court verdict

HONG KONG (SE): The Justice and Peace Commission, together with a few Protestant church groups, prayed the Way of the Cross as around 400 people processed from Causeway Bay to the Central Government Offices in Tamar Park on March 30, interceding for nine participants of the Umbrella Movement of 2014, as well as Hong Kong.
The nine people involved in Umbrella Movement, or Occupy Central, were tried on charges of incitement. They include the three founders of the movement, Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Reverend Chu Yiu-ming and Chan Kin-man, who all took part in the Way of the Cross. Verdicts are expected on April 9. 
The other six include lawmakers, Tanya Chan Suk-chong and Shiu Ka-chun; former student leaders, Tommy Cheung Sau-yin and Eason Chung Yiu-wah; vice-chairperson of the League of Social Democrats, Raphael Wong Ho-ming; and former Democratic Party legislator, Lee Wing-tat.
Prayers were also offered for prisoners of conscience in Hong Kong along with their families.
The Way of the Cross was led by Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun and Reverend Chu. Reverend Chu said that Hong Kong society faces many trials and Christians should journey with the suffering people.
The march started at East Point Road, Causeway Bay, where participants reflected on how the death sentence of Jesus can be related to the prosecution of the nine. They walked along Hennessy Road and Tin Lok Lane towards Admiralty. 
Stopping at what had been dubbed the Lennon Wall in 2014, where people posted their wishes for democracy and justice during the Umbrella Movement, the group was invited to think about the hope for democracy in Hong Kong, as well as the concern about academic freedom and rule of law.
At the Central Government Offices, Cardinal Zen said that the greatest human virtue is love, which involves sacrifice, pain and suffering. He said Jesus, through his own suffering, invites people to follow.
Cardinal Zen shared that he had visited the those who had been jailed for protesting against the Northeast New Territories Development Plan, as well as some other Occupy Central participants. He said he was impressed by the beautiful smile of Bobo Yip Po-lam when he visited her in prison. 
The cardinal said he knows that the nine defendants had prepared for the worst and reminded them that the resurrection of Jesus came after the long darkness of the night. 
He said Hong Kong faced a lot of problems and that Christians should follow the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary by having hope for a better future. 
After the event, Tai said he believes the longing for democracy in people’s hearts remains unchanged despite the fact that four years on, the government has yet to address the demands of the Umbrella Movement or that the turnout at rallies has dropped in recent years.
The Umbrella Movement was sparked by the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on 31 August 2014 to stipulate the selective pre-screening of candidates for the election of Hong Kong’s chief executive in 2017. 

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