06/18/2020, 14.59
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Catholics appeal: security law is a risk for religious freedom in Hong Kong

by Paul Wang

For the group, the law is so vague that the Pope could be called a "foreign power" colluding with the diocese of Hong Kong. There would be problems for prayers on Tiananmen and for the democratic commitment of many faithful. Protestant pastors, lawyers, journalists against the law.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - A group of "lay Catholics" from Hong Kong is circulating a petition to express their opposition to the imminent national security law that Beijing has decided to impose on the territory. The petition can be signed on change.org.

The group says the law threatens to undermine the religious freedom of the Christian community. For now, all that is known is that the law aims to prevent and block acts and activities of secession, subversion, terrorism, collusion with foreign forces. But, as can be seen from the experience in popular China, the typically vague language used by Chinese legislators and the radical interpretation of the laws, risks marking the Pope himself as a "foreign power" (as has happened in the past ) which colludes with the diocese of Hong Kong.

In addition, in recent years the Catholics of Hong Kong have distinguished themselves for supporting the full democracy of the area and every year they have participated in the vigil in memory of Tiananmen. For the group of lay Catholics it is possible that with the new law these gestures are considered as something that "damages national security" and therefore punishable.

For these reasons, the petitioners ask the Hong Kong government to "reflect" on the concerns expressed by religious groups. In Beijing, they ask to cancel the law and eliminate any "violation of religious freedom and fundamental human rights".

In recent days, the Association of lawyers, groups of Protestant pastors and other organizations have spoken out against the security law. Today the Hong Kong journalists’ association has published an investigation carried out among the 535 members: 90% of them think that the law will "seriously affect" the freedom of the press in the territory; 92% say they are concerned because the law threatens their personal safety.

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