Michael Yeung, new bishop of Hong Kong, meets the press

He pays homage to Liu Xiaobo. Beijing's "unfortunate" choice of Tiananmen massacre. But the priorities of the diocese are the elderly and the young. Being a "bridge" Church in relations between Beijing and the Holy See.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Freedom, human rights, tensions with local government, relations between China and the Vatican, gay rights: the issues and questions journalists have poured on Msgr. Michael Yeung, the day after his official appointment to Ordinary Bishop of Hong Kong.

In a press conference held in the diocesan center near the cathedral, responding to questions of a more or less political nature, Msgr. Michael Yeung replied by emphasizing that his priorities are to take care of the poor and abandoned.

"Our elderly need to feel dignified and valued,” he added. “We must also care about our younger generation ... Not all of them want to fight the government, they just need to express their discontent, and those in power have to listen".

The underlying reference is to the Occupy Central movement, which originated from the demands for greater democracy, and has been critical of the Government of the Territory for lack of housing, lack of work and prospects for young people.

If required he will fight on political issues, he explained: "The church is not a political party. However, when facing some problems that affect the whole society, like human rights, justice, openness and accountability, I think the church must stand up to speak.”

When asked about how the Church will face the forthcoming parliamentary elections, the bishop said: "I will not certainly tell people to vote for this or that candidate. I will ask them and encourage them to vote according to their conscience.”

On the ongoing dialogue between Beijing and the Holy See, Msgr. Yeung addressed it saying that he played too small a role in meetings between governments. At the same time, he stressed that the Hong Kong Church will serve as a "bridge" between the Vatican and mainland China. "If there is any way that we can maintain some kind of a dialogue, we will be willing to do so. There is always room for betterment, to improve”, he said.

Bishop Yeung also had a thought for the death of Liu Xiaobo, the great dissident that China allowed die of liver cancer in prison. The Hong Kong diocese celebrated a funeral rite for him. "It broke my heart and I was sad to see a person die in jail after defending democracy and justice, not for ulterior motives”.

Yeung called the fact that Beijing destroyed the pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989 "unhappy" . But he also said that the Church will continue to communicate with Chinese authorities on various topics.