Hong Kong, Christians protest against demolition of crosses
Led by Card. Joseph Zen, dozens of Christians of all denominations protested to ask Beijing to stop the destruction of Christian religious symbols. The retired bishop of the territory: "We have less freedom here too, it is our moral duty to denounce this". Xi Jinping meets religions: "You have to obey the Party, and Communist officials must be atheists and Marxist to defend ourselves against overseas infiltration ".
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - A group of dozens of Christians led by Card. Joseph Zen has asked the Chinese government to stop demolishing crosses on mainland China and to release religious leaders from jail. The retired bishop of Hong Kong pointed out that freedom is declining even in the former British colony: "We need to speak out, to take action to prevent this from spreading".
The protests were held yesterday in front of the Hong Kong Liaison Office with China. The Hong Kong Christian Institute, Christians for Hong Kong Society, Christian Social Concern Fellowship and Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Hong Kong were the four groups that protested yesterday. Participants chanted "respect for religious freedom" as they left flowers in memory of those who have died to affirm this right in China.
The group reminded those gathered that more than 2,000 crosses were removed or demolished in the province of Zhejiang alone since the end of 2013, when the campaign against Christian religious symbols was started by the local Party. In addition, the protesters asked the central government in Beijing to release pastors and priests imprisoned for opposing these demolitions.
Card. Zen he was worried the anti- Christian campaign could spread to Hong Kong. "The freedom is less and less. So we have to speak out because we, in Hong Kong, can see the possibility of the anti- Christian campaign spreading from the mainland," he said.
The Hong Kong protests come one day after the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and representatives of the United Front (which gathers together all "non-communist" social groups in modern-day China).
During his address, Xi stressed that religious groups must obey the Party: " Religious groups must adhere to the leadership of the Communist Party of China". But party members must be "unyielding Marxist atheists," Xi said, calling on them to "resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means".