CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Passing on the value of justice

HONG KONG (SE): During a talk marking the 30th anniversary of the Tiananman Square massacre, Father Louis Ha Ke-loon urged people to live out the value of justice in memory of those who sacrificed their lives in the patriotic and democratic movement in Beijing in 1989.
The talk was held at St. Benedict Church, Shatin on May 19 in conjunction with a weekend exhibition of the historical Church events in 1989. The exhibition was organised by the Union of Hong Kong Catholic Organisations in support of the Patriotic and Democratic Movement in China, set up in May 1989 in response to the patriotic movement in Beijing.
Father Ha, who headed the Hong Kong Catholic Social Communications Office at that time and helped to organise various related Church activities, was invited to share his views together with Biddy Kwok Tsui-yi, then a parishioner of St. Benedict and now the chairperson of the Justice and Peace Commission. 
Kwok said that at the beginning, the students’ patriotic movement brought her hope for change in China, but deep worries later as the lives of the students came under threat with tensions from a curfew, then finally, anger with the loss of life from the crackdown. She recalled that Church activities and prayers helped her to calm down her strong feelings and gave her comfort. She was later actively involved in a Church concern group monitoring the Legislative Council and became more aware of the social issues in Hong Kong. Kwok believes there will be a vindication one day.
Father Ha, now the diocesan archivist, pointed out that the death of the students that year had immeasurable value and significance in the sense it has passed on the spirit of justice to many people, like Kwok, in the wake of the crackdown. He believes that people living out this value is far more important than demanding vindication from Beijing. 
He further explained that Jesus, like the students, was killed even though he was innocent. But the early Church never fought for his vindication, but instead focused on passing on the message of his salvation.
He urged people to preserve the memory of the history, which can easily fade with time and pass on the spirit of justice. He said even though people may now seem indifferent to the event or other social issues, the seed of justice, already planted in their hearts, will be ready to explode in due course.
Father Ha said any government should be very careful when there is a student protest. It has to listen to students’ demands and find out the reason behind their disappointment as the future belongs to the young people. He said it is sad that the Hong Kong government has failed to do so. 
Porson Chan Lok-shun, a member of the union, said he came up with the idea of organising the exhibition after he dug up too many valuable historical materials from the diocesan archives. 
Born in 1989, he said he could only learn about the history of the incidents through reports and historical evidence. He said one purpose of the exhibition is to show that people can bravely say no in the face of political pressure, just like the students that year. 
The exhibition displayed reports from the Kung Kao Po as well as pictures and other documents from the diocesan archives about the related Church events in 1989. They included a rally on June 5 by 6,000 Church people who wore white headbands as a sign of mourning a day after the massacre as well as a Mass celebrated on June 9 by John Baptist Cardinal Wu Cheng-chung at the Hong Kong Stadium attended by 20,000 people.
The exhibition displayed the front page of the 16 June 1989 edition of the Kung Kao Po which reported on the Mass saying that Cardinal Wu prayed for souls of the victims and urged Chinese people to abandon their hatred and fight for democracy and freedom from tyranny in unity until the end. 
The report also quoted Father Luke Tsui Kam-yiu who urged those present to think about the messages behind the democratic movement after anger and sadness, and gave several reminders for those present to deepen their knowledge about democracy and build up the society with faith. 
Footage from a memorial documentary produced by the Diocesan Audio Visual Centre was also played. 
The exhibition at St. Benedict will continue on May 25 and 26. 
The union will organise a series of activities with other Church groups to mark the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, including a forum at St. Vincent’s parish, Wong Tai Sin, on May 25, a Mass celebrated by Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun at St. Francis of Assisi parish, Sham Shui Po, on May 31 as well as a prayer service at Victoria Park on June 4.

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