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    » 10/22/2011, 00.00

    HONG KONG

    Card. Zen ends hunger strike for freedom of Hong Kong Catholic schools

    Annie Lam

    During his three-day fast, hundreds of Church school students, teachers, principals, faithful, local people and politicians visited him and expressed support and concern. The prelate stresses Catholic education values in schools: life education, love, sanctity of marriage, respect for human dignity and morality. Card. Zen rejected again any charge over donation from tycoon Jimmy Lai.
    Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, emeritus bishop of Hong Kong, has completed a three-day hunger strike this morning, undertaken as an act of protest against losing a long-standing legal battle with the Hong Kong government over how aided schools should be run.

    The 79-year old prelate, who looked fragile but appeared in good spirits, ended the fast at 10 am today after he had camped in protest outside a Salesian community house here, with a prayer with dozens of Catholics present there.

    He told reporters briefly that he would further study the school regulations, hoping Catholic education be continued under the school management system.
    Cardinal Zen, who suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes, noted his health indicators remained normal during and after the fast. He thanked medical workers who closely monitored his health condition, as well as local faithful and citizens for their support and care.

    Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal had earlier rejected the diocese’s appeal against government-directed measures which end the Church's full control over Church-run schools, by allowing outsiders to be on the school management boards.

    Hours before the end of the fast, on Oct. 21 evening, more than 100 faithful, priests and local people had gathered and prayed with the fasting cardinal. With rosaries, hymns and Scripture-reading, they showed solidarity with him and expressing supports for Catholic education values and Catholic educators.
    Cardinal Zen told the prayer gathering that the Church hopes to preserve Catholic values in education, emphasizing the importance of life education, love, sanctity of marriage, respect for human dignity and morality.

    Citing Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), the cardinal said it is important for students to learn from school the values of justice, love and the respect for the weak and marginalized.

    He said the Church would continue to seek advice from Catholic legal practitioners on how to operate based on Catholic education values under the school management.

    During his three-day fast, hundreds of Church school students, teachers and principals, faithful, local people and politicians visited him and expressed support and concern.

    Founding chairman of Democratic Party Martin Lee and media owner Jimmy Lai, both Catholics, visited the cardinal on Oct. 21 evening.
    Cardinal Zen told the press that Lai did not mention his donations, but expressed worries about the impact of school-based management policy, and it is important the international world knows about the matter.

    The school-based management policy within the Education Ordinance was introduced in 2004, which requires all primary and secondary schools here to set up incorporated management committees by 2010. The proportion of board members representing school-sponsoring body will be reduced to 60 percent within the committee, allowing parents, alumni and community members to make up the rest 40 percent.

    At the start of his fast, media reported a total of HK$ 20 million (2 million euros) was given by Lai to Cardinal Zen in the past few years.

    The cardinal admitted he received from Lai the donations, but emphasized the offer was “unconditional” and not with political aims, and disclosed that the money was used for charities and support to China Church’s open and underground communities (AsiaNews, 10.20.2011, "I received millions and spent them for the Church and the poor, Card Zen says").
     
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    See also

    31/08/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Hong Kong, parents and students do not want "national education"
    An independent survey reveals: 75% considered the new subject useless and damaging, defined by Cardinal Zen a "brainwashing" operated by the Communists against young people in the former colony. Hunger strike by protesters camped at the Admiralty continues, and students ask Beijing to include in Tiananmen massacre in their the study material.

    19/10/2011 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Card. Zen on hunger strike for freedom of education in schools
    The cardinal criticizes the decision of the Supreme Court in favour of government control (and China) which is likely to destroy the educational system of the territory, considered among the best. Card. Zen will take only water and communion every day. Revelations of donations received by him, attempt to cast suspicion on use. The long list of help he has provided: scholarships, donations to disaster hit dioceses , theological texts and translations of documents of the Church.

    01/09/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Hong Kong, students still on hunger strike against "national education"
    Protest growing: From 80 to 200 high school students. Massive demonstration of teachers 'unions and parents' representatives scheduled tomorrow. According to the reform, the so-called classes of "national education" will address the major scientific and economic achievements of mainland China.

    31/07/2006 HONG KONG – CHINA – ASIAN YOUTH DAY
    Card.Zen: "Beijing banned Catholic youth from joining us"

    The cardinal yesterday accused four Chinese provinces of not giving Catholic youth permission attend Asian Youth Day, considered by Beijing to be "an anti-China event".



    03/09/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
    All-out hunger strike in Hong Kong against China's patriotic education
    After yesterday's large-scale demonstration, more students join three hunger strikers protesting in front of Hong Kong's government offices. They want plans to introduce national education courses scrapped. In their view, their purpose is to brainwash residents in the former British crown colony. As anger mounts among the population, local authorities have remained silent.



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    INDIA – PHILIPPINES
    Archbishop of Guwahati: In Asia religion is not dying, the faithful take strength from the Eucharist



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