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    » 12/27/2010, 00.00

    HONG KONG – CHINA

    Mgr Tong urges Beijing to free Liu Xiaobo, Catholic clergymen and human rights activists



    In his Christmas message, the bishop of Hong Kong compares jailed activists to the three wise men who were led by Star of Bethlehem to the manger. He also calls on the Chinese government to free all those who want to improve society.

    Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – In his Christmas message, Mgr John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong, called on the Chinese government to free Liu Xiaobo, activist Zhao Lianhai and all those who are in jail for promoting human rights. He also urged Beijing to release all the clergymen from the underground Church who are behind bars for demanding greater religious freedom in China. In his message, the prelate expressed four dreams or aspirations he has for the future of his diocese, namely evangelisation, vocations, the Universal Church and acting as a bridge with mainland.

    Like the star that led the three wise men to Jesus in the biblical nativity story, imprisoned mainland activists can lead the country towards a better future, Mgr Tong said. They include “all the nameless heroes who have responded to the recent appeal of our Holy Father to protect the unborn from abortion, and the newborn from infanticide; Liu Xiaobo, who is in prison for promoting human rights, as well as Zhao Lianhai for uncovering the truth about the tainted milk scandal”.

    The shining stars also include the clergymen “from the underground Church who are behind bars for defending religious freedom, as well as clergy in the open Church who were forced to participate in an illegitimate Episcopal ordination, and attend the Eighth Catholic Representatives Assembly in sorrowful protest.”

    “I have great respect for all of them,” the prelate said. “I hope and pray that they will soon be set free, and enjoy their civil rights and freedom of belief, so that they will be able to make an even greater contribution to society”. This way, “our nation will enjoy an even greater international reputation”.

    In his long message, the bishop looked at the situation of his diocese to describe his dreams. “My first dream,” he said, “is to continue striving to evangelise. This is the mission to teach all nations, which Jesus, before he ascended into heaven, urged his disciples to accomplish . . . .  The second dream is to make every effort to promote vocations” for “Jesus exhorted us: ‘The harvest is great, but the labourers are few’ . . . . My third dream is concern for international Catholics” because “Hong Kong is an international city” and “foreign Catholics form one family with us. . . . My fourth dream is to play the role of Bridge Church” with the mainland, which is opening up at last but whose many old wounds are still healing.

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    See also

    24/12/2011 HONG KONG – CHINA
    In the spirit of Christmas, Mgr Tong calls for more housing, less selfishness
    Hong Kong’s Catholic bishop calls on the government and the rich business community to solve the city’s acute housing problem. Yueyue, the two-year-old toddler left to die after she was hit by two vehicles, is remembered. Anglican bishop calls for a return to core values against widespread “individualism”.

    24/12/2012 HONG KONG
    Card. Tong’s Christmas message: universal suffrage and defense of the family
    The cardinal seeks greater government support in social housing, health care, pensions, education. Emphasizes the family as a unit between a man and a woman, open to procreation, to counter the demographic crisis of the territory and attempts to legalize gay marriage. This year the Church in Hong Kong has welcomed 3,500 new members.

    22/12/2015 HONG KONG
    Card Tong at Christmas: without the family, society would fall apart
    In his message for the birth of Christ, the bishop of Hong Kong emphasises the fact that Jesus chose to be born in a family. "So we can see that the family is very important not just in our faith, but also in the formation of our society.” For the holidays, let us “give one another a hug” in lieu of posting messages on social media.

    20/02/2012 HONG KONG
    Card. Tong’s requests to the faithful and the Government of Hong Kong
    The new Cardinal’s Lenten message stresses the value of sharing. And asks future governor to ensure full democracy in Hong Kong and that absolute liberalism in which territory is submersed be corrected, with concern for public housing, education, pensions, medical care for needy.

    29/05/2009 CHINA
    Authorities forced to respond to Zhao’s Memoirs on Tiananmen
    A semi-official news agency takes a hard line against Zhao, saying the case against him and the students in Tiananmen was “ironclad’ and “indisputable”. However, some observers note that the way the response was made indicates a struggle within the party. Dissidents are placed under house arrest.



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