The young people who paid the ultimate price did so for love and respect of their compatriots. “Through the Blessed John Paul II’s prayers, we are not afraid to face evil forces; through the martyrs’ blood, truth conquers,” the cardinal said to about 200 Catholics who took part in the Mass at St Margaret’s Church. Each of the participants lit a candle for China (pictured).
In 1989, tens of thousands of Chinese students and supporters of the democracy movement came together in Tiananmen Square to demand democracy, freedom and a clean government. On the night of 3-4 June, they were cut down, killed, jailed and exiled.
Chinese authorities killed the innocent and young people. They jailed the peacemakers and human rights defenders, but spared the corrupted. Members of the Catholic clergy were also jailed for more than 10 years or beaten up, the prelate said.
Citing Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan as “the Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter,” Cardinal Zen said, “We believe the martyrs’ blood and Jesus’ blood will blossom and bear fruits.”
Catholic Organisations in Support of Patriotic and Democratic Movements in China have organised commemorative Masses from 25 May to 3 June. “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy (Psalm, 126:5)” is the theme organisers chose for this year.
Catholic organisations have also organised an exhibit, video-shows and a prayer meeting in the afternoon before the mass rally and candlelight vigil set for the evening of 4 June at Victoria Park,.
Speaking about the rally, Lee Cheuk-yan, who succeeded Szeto Wah as the chairperson of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic and Democratic Movement in China, told the press on 18 May that he expected the turnout at the rally and vigil to reach 150,000.
Given the recent crackdown on pro-democracy and human rights activists in China, the turnout may be even higher, Lee added.
Editorial articles set to appear in the 29 May issue of the Kung Kao Po and Sunday Examiner, two diocesan weeklies, urge the faithful to participate in the 4 June commemoration.
Quoting Pope Benedict’s call for prayers for China on 24 May, the articles stress how Christians can enter the mystery of the incarnation of ‘the suffering Christ who is present among His people”.
The two weeklies will also report that more than 20 Tiananmen Mothers have passed away, their families still unable to mourn publicly the death of the victims of 4 June 1989, those in exile still banned from returning even for their parents’ funerals.
Both papers praised Hong Kong legislators who, every year since 1989, have put forward a motion in the Legislative Council, calling for vindication for the events of 1989, even though it is defeated each time.