We have learned from experience that wherever freedom as a whole is undermined, freedom of religion or belief is affected
Updated: July 03, 2020 02:32 AM GMT
On behalf of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, I call on Christians of all traditions and people of all faiths, throughout Asia and the world, to pray for Hong Kong, and indeed for China and all her people, with great insistence.
The government of China has imposed a new national security law on Hong Kong. This was done without systematic consultation with the general public. This law seriously diminishes Hong Kong’s freedoms and destroys the city’s “high degree of autonomy” promised under the “one country, two systems” principle. This action brings a most significant change to Hong Kong’s constitution and is offensive to the spirit and letter of the 1997 handover agreement between Britain and China.
Hong Kong is one of the jewels of Asia, a “Pearl of the Orient”, a crossroads between East and West, a gateway to China, a regional hub for free trade and until now has enjoyed a healthy mixture of freedom and creativity.
A national security law is not in itself wrong. Every country has a right to legislate to safeguard protect national security. However, such legislation should be balanced with protection of human rights, human dignity and basic freedoms. The imposition of the law by China’s National People’s Congress seriously weakens Hong Kong’s Legislative Council and Hong Kong’s autonomy. It radically changes Hong Kong’s identity.
I am concerned that the law poses a threat to basic freedoms and human rights in Hong Kong. This legislation potentially undermines freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, media freedom and academic freedom. Arguably, freedom of religion or belief is put at risk.