HONG KONG –CHINA
The auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong, who is very close to young people, calls for such steps. About 70-80 per cent of the population wants an independent inquiry into police violence. Another 34 people were arrested over the weekend,. More than 30 per cent of those arrested are under 18. regulations ask Catholics to elect their bishops democratically and report to the state administration
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Praying the Rosary in the month of October and setting up of an independent commission of inquiry into police violence are the steps needed for a “journey of reconciliation” within Hong Kong society after four trying and tense months, said Mgr Joseph Ha, auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong, during a meeting with Catholic youth two days ago.
Since last June, Hong Kong has seen scores of protests, drawing tens of thousands of people, on some week-ends, millions even. Originally, protesters wanted the government to scrap an extradition bill that would allow suspects to be sent to mainland China.
The authorities eventually gave in early September, but by then, the protest movement had raised the stake, making ‘five demands’ on the government, including full democracy and an inquiry into the excessive use of force by the police.
With the government choosing to say nothing about such demands and the police opting for increasingly violent repression, the more radical elements within the protest movement seemingly opted for a form of urban guerrilla war, enough to make anyone despair about a possible reconciliation.
Last weekend 34 more protesters were arrested for a total of 2,500 people in custody, a third under the age of 18. More than half of all protesters are young people under 29.
Speaking to the youths at the Diocesan Centre on of Caine Road, Mgr Ha said he was moved by the “young faithful who expressed their views on our Church’s participation in society.”
“I am convinced that one of the necessary ways to resolve the current difficult situation in Hong Kong is the setting up of an independent commission of inquiry,” said the prelate. “This is undoubtedly the consensus of most people in Hong Kong as supported by 70 to 80 per cent of the citizens who took part in recent opinion polls.”
The apostolic administrator of the diocese, Card John Tong, and some Protestant leaders, have also called for an independent commission on police violence.
For his part, Mgr Ha has urged the faithful to pray the Rosary throughout the month of October, ending each night at 10 pm or whenever convenient with an invocation to ‘Mary, untier of knots, please pray for us!’
“The crucial element is ‘always to pray and not lose heart’ (Luke 18:1)! May the Lord touch the heart of our government officials to respond to the public by setting up an independent commission of inquiry, so that the society can embark on the journey of reconciliation through the finding of the truth.” (P.W.)