CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Friday, 6 September 2019

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Chinese state media targets Hong Kong Catholics

HONG KONG (UCAN): Chinese state media in Hong Kong accused Catholics in Hong Kong of supporting protesters in the increasingly violent unrest arising from the government’s now-suspended extradition bill.
 
A video was posted on the Internet showing eight students taking part in air gun target practice while parading an American flag on the rooftop of Yu Chun Keung Memorial College, a diocesan school.
 
The Ta Kung Pao, a pro-Beijing newspaper, likened the content to “violence assault training” and questioned whether the school had become “a mob training centre.”
 
In an August 11 statement, the school noted that the video was recorded on August 5 and only showed the activities of its gun club, and in no way represented its views on the unrest rocking the city.
 
However, Ta Kung Pao, tried to link the video footage with a story showing that the school had allowed anti-government demonstrators to take refuge in its chapel.
 
Following clashes between police and protesters on the night of August 3, the Mother of Good Counsel Parish opened the nearby St. Vincent Chapel for people to rest and take shelter.
 
“The church providing shelter to the mob wearing black has been criticised by people who say it is collaborating with them,” the newspaper claimed. “Some worry that the church has become a base for those who are anti-China and anti-Hong Kong.”
 
Wen Wei Po, another pro-Beijing newspaper, claimed on August 7 that having a chapel that shared a building with a Catholic primary school would allow protesters to gain entry using religion as a cover to supposedly hijack the school.
 
A volunteer from the parish said on August 12 that the article had prompted a decision to close all parts of the building after Mass.
 
“The chapel will only be open for parishioners who have an appointment and with security approval,” the volunteer said.
 
“I believe these harsh words against the school will make the parish worry about the students and that it will no longer open the church for people in need during protests,” the volunteer added.
 
Wen Wei Po also attacked the Catholic Centre bookstore for uploading an illustration to Facebook depicting Jesus hugging two distressed, masked young people wearing helmets and black clothes and telling them: “Kids, tired already? Come to my door!!” However, a diocesan staff member denied that it showed the diocese taking sides.
 
“With today’s situation … being attacked (by the media) is not a surprise,” he said. “But the message of the picture is very mild. It just shows Jesus offering shelter and help to those in need.”

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