01/21/2004, 00.00
hong kong - china
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Farewell to the Year of the Ram, full of conflicts and persecution

On the occasion of the Lunar New Year, the Sunday Examiner, the English weekly of the Hong Kong diocese, has issued this editorial, in which there is a review of the past 2003 year , with a close view on Church and society in Hong Kong and China.

Hong Kong ( AsiaNews/SE) - Every New Year is a time for new beginnings, a time for joy and a time to hope that the future will bring blessings. The Chinese Lunar New Year marks the beginning of spring and it is often called the Spring Festival.This year, perhaps more than many other recent years, most people in Hong Kong and throughout the world are happy to say goodbye to the Year of the Ram (Goat, Sheep) and to welcome the Year of the Monkey. The Year of the Ram did not live up to expectations. It was supposed to bring us peace and harmony. It was supposed to bring us prosperity and serenity. It was supposed to be a good year for doves!Some years are not the best of years and the 2003 Year of the Ram was certainly not one of best for Hong Kong. We lived through an unprecedented economic downturn and rampant unemployment. People were dissatisfied with the government. Then came the SARS epidemic. Hong Kong came to a virtual standstill.Then on July 1, frustration with the government erupted into the streets as 500,000 people marched in protest against the proposed subversion law.The rest of the world did not fare much better. Conflicts in the Middle East continued unabated and terrorism did not lessen. Neither was Mother Nature very kind. She rocked the earth with terrible earthquakes and seemed to delight in floods and landslides, all of which caused dreadful injuries and claimed a large number of lives.If 2003 was not a banner year for Hong Kong or for society in general, neither was it a good year for the Church in China. As the Year of the Ram gives way to the Year of the Monkey, there are still two bishops, and at least a dozen young priests in detention.Detentions continued almost unabated throughout the year. There was a general crackdown on all groups not registered with the government and a tightening up on the Catholic Church in particular, with special documents threatening to change the very structure of the Church in China from that of the Universal Church. Can we expect the Year of the Monkey to be kinder, and gentler?
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