"Do not wish to be slaves of powerful people!"*
Bp. Zen at Victoria Park, Hong Kong, 1 July 2003
I am delighted that the great Bishop Joseph Ze-kiun Zen (Ã©â„¢Â³Ã¦â€”Â¥Ã¥Ââ€ºÃ¤Â¸Â»Ã¦â€¢â„¢) bishop of Hong Kong and a great fighter for human rights has been named Cardinal by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI during His Holiness’ General Audience just a few minutes ago. I am thrilled.
I have been concerned that the Bishop of Hong Kong might be passed over because of a new version of Ostpolitik regarding the People’s Republic of China. He was thought o have been made a Cardinal in pectore (secret Cardinal) by the late Pope John Paul II, but the Pope died before he could be revealed as such. So, he has had to wait.
Be sure to pray for Bishop Zen.
When he became Bishop of Hong Kong in 2002, he voiced opposition to the imposition on Hong Kong, in violation of the concord, of the "anti-subversion laws" which are in Article 23 "Basic Law". These laws would ahve for sure lead to violations of basic civil rights of the people of Hong Kong, interferring with freedom of the press and expression, even reading and research. Article 23 would have undercut the role of the Church in Hong Kong, which is very strongly represented there through hospitals and especially schools.
On 1 July 2003 Bp. Zen lead a prayer gathering at Victoria Park before a huge protest march began. On 3 June 2004, he held a pray service called "Democratize China". Bp. Zen was part of a faction who wanted direct election of Hong Kong’s chief executive. He was strongly criticized by the Finance Minister of the PCR in the press. On 1 July 2004, many Catholics joined thousands of other citizens in an anti-government march, certainly the largest peaceful protest since Tiananmen Square.
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