06/19/2015, 00.00
HONG KONG – CHINA
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For Card Tong, the Church will continue to promote democracy in Hong Kong

After the Legislative Council voted down Beijing’s election reform package, Hong Kong’s Cardinal Tong calls for healing and prayer to overcome polarisation. Pro-Beijing lawmakers apologise to Hong Kongers, one weeps.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Hong Kong’s Catholic Church will “continue to promote democracy, justice and the well-being of the people of Hong Kong,” wrote Card John Tong in a letter to the faithful following a vote in the autonomous region’s Legislative Council against a proposed electoral reform package. For him, “It is obvious that this outcome will not put an end to the polarized situation of our society”. Hence, Catholics must continue to pray, sparing no efforts to solve the situation.

Last Wednesday afternoon, Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) voted on the proposed election reform package. The 27 pro-democracy LegCo members kept their promises and voted against it. They were joined by a pro-establishment lawmaker from the Health Services constituency, Dr Leung Ka-la, who unexpectedly switched sides.

Most LegCo Members from the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the Federation of Trade Unions and the Commercial and Professional Union left the chamber just before the vote call. The end result was that the reform package got only eight votes.

For Card Jong Tong, “It is obvious that this outcome will not put an end to the polarized situation of our society. It will take time for wounds to be healed. Nevertheless, we must spare no effort in addressing the real causes behind this polarized situation, and we must continue to promote democracy, justice and the well-being of the people of Hong Kong.”

 “As Christians,” he added, “we are not alone, because Christ is always with us and for us. May I again invite you all to join me in prayer for the future of Hong Kong, asking for God’s blessing on her. Never underestimate the power of prayer”.”

The outcome has led to mounting pressure and escalating internal conflicts among Beijing loyalists. The 33 pro-Beijing lawmakers who did not vote because of a miscommunication met with the local press and apologised to their supporters for the incident.

Ip Kwok-him, from the Beijing-loyalist Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said he would bear the responsibility for the mistake, and apologised “to the vast majority of Hong Kong residents who have been supporting the passage of the political reform package.”

Because of a miscommunication, Ip left the legislative chamber to meet a colleague thinking that a 15-minute recess had been granted. Thus, he and most of his fellow Beijing loyalists were not present when the vote was held.

Pro-Beijing New People’s Party lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee (pictured) wept when she realised her mistake. “The central government must be very disappointed,” she explained. “I also feel very sad. I didn’t sleep well yesterday. I really wanted to cast my vote”. 

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