08/09/2019, 10.47
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Bishop Joseph Ha: A three-month ceasefire between police and protesters

by Paul Wang

Catholics march in Central.  The auxiliary bishop asks the police to be more "professional" and the young to renounce violence.  Repeated civil society demands: permanently cancel the extradition law and launch an independent investigation into the excessive use of force by the police.

 

 

 

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Msgr. Joseph Ha Chi-shing, auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong, has proposed a "ceasefire" of two or three months between police and protesters to open a period of dialogue and reach an agreement. 

Faced with the growing tension between the government and civil society due to the infamous extradition law, and after the increasingly violent clashes between law enforcement and groups of protesters, the auxiliary bishop's proposal emerged during last night's march of a thousand Catholics held in the streets of the Central district.  Organized by four groups, including Justice and Peace in Hong Kong, the torchlight and smartphone march reached the Court of Appeal.

At the end, Msgr. Ha said: "In the last two months, the city has been in turmoil. We should have a cooling-off period and a ceasefire of at least two or three months, for both sides to sit down and come to an agreement to move society forward".

In his speech, the bishop did not spare criticism of the government that, deaf to requests, triggered the reaction of civil society, but he also hoped that we will return to treat ourselves as "brothers and sisters" of a single city that everyone loves.  He also reiterated the demands that all the protesters are making: permanently cancel the extradition law and launch an independent investigation into the excessive use of force by the police.  He also called for more "professionalism" for the police and a peaceful style for the demonstrators, because "violence generates more violence, and hatred creates even more hatred".

In recent months, Msgr.  Joseph Ha was very close to the young people and to the protesters, often leading moments of prayer at the sit-in near the Legco (Hong Kong parliament).  Card John Tong, apostolic administrator of the diocese, and the head of the Protestant churches in the area, Eric So Shing-yit, already in June had supported the two fundamental demands of the anti-extradition movement.

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