07/08/2017, 12.24
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Hong Kong Christians pray for Liu Xiaobo and his wife. Cardinal Zen: Tell the truth like him

by Victoria Ma

A vigil of almost 300 Catholics and Protestants for the great dissident who is dying from terminal cancer liver cancer and for his wife. Liu is "China's Conscience." Cardinal Zen: He is like a prophet of the Old Testament. Rev Wu: His writings are full of Christian values. Postcards to sign and send to the Liu family: "Xiaobo, we are with you".

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - More than 260 Christians in Hong Kong joined a prayer gathering for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia at a chapel inside a Catholic school in the evening of July 7.

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, released from prison on medical parole in May, suffers from a terminally ill liver cancer, and is receiving medical treatment in a hospital Shenyang (Liaoning). His wife is under surveillance since Liu was imprisoned.

Cardinal Joseph Zen, emeritus bishop of Hong Kong, told the gathering that Christians are sympathetic with the couple and have learnt from Liu Xiaobo to tell the truth, citing a scripture of Book of Jeremiah (11:19-23).

The prelate said Liu Xiaobo is like a prophet in the Old Testament, who speak for God and tell the truth. Liu tells the truth, based on facts and analysis, and speaks with calmness. “What did Liu actually say?” Cardinal Zen asked. The Charter 08, authored inspired by Liu, was inspired by Charter 77, he added.

The Charter 08 is a manifesto initially signed by over 350 Chinese intellectuals and human rights activists in 2008 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“We learn from Liu, a person who tells the truth,” Cardinal Zen noted. “We persist in showing concerns to the happenings in China. We are calm and peaceful. We have no hatred, as Liu does,” he noted.

Quotations of Liu’s writings, including his article “I have no enemies: My Final Statement” written in 2009, were read at the prayer gathering. A quote says: “I look forward to [the day] when my country is a land with freedom of expression, where the speech of every citizen will be treated equally well; where different values, ideas, beliefs, and political views ... can both compete with each other and peacefully coexist;…. I hope that I will be the last victim of China's endless literary inquisitions and that from now on no one will be incriminated because of speech.”

Reverend Wu Chi-wai of Hong Kong Church Renewal Movement told the participants that though Liu Xiaobo’s faith background was not known, his writings were filled with Christian values. Reverend Wu cited Liu’s reflection on Saint John Paul II’s speech on love and reconciliation upon his papal visit to Jerusalem and the Middle East in 2001, and Liu’s mention of praying for Ding Zilin of Tiananmen Mothers in times of troubles.

Reverend Wu cited Psalm 7:6-17, a lamentation, and remembered the Liu couple for their agonies and pains.

Co-organized the prayer gathering were six Christian groups, including Catholics’ Justice and Peace Commission and Labor Affairs Commission, Christians for Hong Kong Society and Hong Kong Christian Institute.

The gathering began with a video broadcast of a documentary of Liu Xiaobo, featuring his participation in the 1989 pro-democracy movement, an interview before his arrest, and an empty chair at the Nobel Peace Prize presentation in 2010; and of Liu Xia, who lived under surveillance and threats.

The Christians prayed for the Liu couple, honoring Liu Xiaobo as the “conscience of China” as he promotes democracy, freedom, human rights, rule of law in China, but was jailed by a dictatorial regime and lost his freedom. His wife, Liu Xia, has been under house arrest and has lost her human dignity.

They prayed for God’s protection for the Liu couple to persevere amid persecutions; and for all dissidents and human rights defenders in China, who suffer similar persecutions and harassments.

Moreover, the Christians also prayed for democracy in Mainland China and in Hong Kong.

Christians and citizens are urged to sign blessing cards with “Xiaobo, we are with you” and a smiling Liu Xiaobo image. The cards will be sent to Liu Xiaobo to express well-wishes for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and his wife.



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