02/10/2005, 00.00
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Domestic harmony, first goal in New Year for the Territory's religious leaders

An multi-faith message urges citizens to be better parents and fight domestic violence.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – In a statement released on the first day of the Lunar New Year Buddhist, Catholic, Confucian, Muslim, Protestant and Taoist leaders in Hong Kong told the people of the Territory to stymie the deterioration of traditional moral values and promote domestic harmony as ways to build a more stable society. They urged them to find solutions to social issues like domestic violence and improve their parenting skills.

"At present, we are deeply concerned about the deterioration of traditional moral values in our community," their statement read. "Domestic violence in the face of adversity is an issue to be regretfully acknowledged," they stressed. Domestic violence is indeed widespread in Chinese society, affecting primarily women.

To cope with the problem, the leaders suggest their fellow citizens follow "the ancients [who] rightly said that self-cultivation of personality would put the family in order."

The emphasis, they believe, ought to be on parents and their role in social reconstruction. "Parents," they said, "should make the upbringing of their children their primary obligation. [They] are models for their children."

Being a role model means teaching "by personal example [because the latter] is better than precepts." Especially "[i]n these ever-changing times, [when] parents need to equip themselves with practical skills in educational and technological advancement in order to guide the children of today to be the better parents of tomorrow".

In the meantime, "[c]hildren should behave well and respect their parents and elders. Domestic harmony will help bring stability to the community [since] charity begins at home."

The religious leaders signed off their message by wishing "the people of Hong Kong prosperity, harmony and stability".

The Lunar New Year, known as the spring festival since 1911, is the most important holiday in the Far East and in most places is officially celebrated from the first to the third day of the new year.

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