Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The government of Hong Kong must " put the personal safety of fellow citizens as her prime concern," limiting the use of force and try to listen to the young people. This is the "urgent appeal" expressed by the bishop of the Territory, Card. John Tong Hon, published this morning after violent clashes in recent days and yesterday in the city center.
Although always having called for calm and dialogue, the Catholic Church in Hong Kong is united in its support of the people's demands for democracy. In July of 2013, the diocese has published a lengthy document in which it seeks universal suffrage for the election of the chief executive planned for 2017. If this is not granted by Beijing then "civil disobedience is justified".
One of the most committed public figures to support the demands of the Occupy Central democratic movement is the Bishop Emeritus Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiun. After marching to invite people to participate in the referendum on democracy and having delivered several public speeches in favor of "one man, one vote," the prelate is now right in the heart of the financial district of Hong Kong along with the protesters. Here, along with a group of Catholics, he held a moment of prayer (see photo). Below is the full text of Card. Tong's appeal.
With reference to the regrettable events at Central, Admiralty and Wanchai over the past few days, may I sincerely call upon the Hong Kong SAR Government to put the personal safety of fellow citizens as her prime concern, exercising restraint in deployment of force with a view to listening to the voice of the younger generation and of citizens from all walks of life.
It is also my sincere wish that all those who are trying to voice out their grievances will be persistent in keeping calm. Where there is a will, there is a way.
As Christians, we believe that with God as its Creator, our world can always offer us hope. Accordingly, I would like to ask all Christians to continue praying for the reconciliation of the conflicting parties in Hong Kong, and for the peace and wellbeing of our Community.