Card. Zen raises the stakes in Hong Kong

The South China Morning Post has an article about the continuing controversy in Hong Kong over the delays in implementing the democratic reforms after the handover in 1997.

Act on reform or stakes rise, Zen tells Tsang
Ambrose Leung

The leader of Hong Kong’s Catholics yesterday warned that Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen must fulfil a promise to resolve the question of universal suffrage, otherwise he would raise the stakes.

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun’s warning came as the democratic camp began drawing up a strategy to mobilise public support for democratisation during the summer, following the imminent release of a green paper on political reform.

Speaking three days after he made his first appearance at the July 1 pro-democracy march, the cardinal said he wanted to see the green paper provide a clear indication of how the city should progress towards universal suffrage.

“Donald Tsang has promised he would resolve the question of universal suffrage. If the green paper does not achieve that, if it does not bring us clearly towards that goal but takes us on a walk in the park, then I will definitely ‘make it big’ this time,” he said.

Cardinal Zen would not elaborate on this but added he might write articles about how democracy would be beneficial to the people, as the city was already late in planning for a democratic future. “My joining of the July 1 march was just a warming-up exercise,” he said.

Tens of thousands marched on Sunday calling for more democracy and improved livelihoods.

Cardinal Zen’s comments come two days after Liu Bainian , a deputy chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, hit out at his participation in the democracy rally, saying it would not help Sino-Vatican relations.

During the height of the controversy over Hong Kong’s political future in 2005 when the government’s constitutional reform proposal was criticised as not going far enough and was rejected by the legislature, the leader of the city’s Catholic diocese backed the democrats.

His call for speedy action towards full democracy follows a pledge by Mr Tsang to “go all out” in finding a consensus on the way forward.

The democratic camp met last night to discuss how to mobilise public support in the fight for introducing universal suffrage ahead of the green paper’s release.

Democrat Lee Wing-tat said since it was expected that the document would not contain any concrete reform proposals but would consult the public over different elements related to universal suffrage, the public might find it difficult to understand and lose interest.

“Our task over the summer is to maximise public awareness by simplifying the proposal so that people’s power can be mobilised. To tell the truth, I still have some faith in Donald [Tsang] to come up with something acceptable, since he has made a promise,” Mr Lee said.

Ronny Tong Ka-wah, of the Civic Party, said his party would not accept the green paper if it did not contain a clear timetable stating how and when Hong Kong could introduce universal suffrage.

Card. Zen raises the stakes in Hong Kong
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10 Responses to Card. Zen raises the stakes in Hong Kong

  1. jh says:

    THe meeting between Cardinal Zen and Bush is becoming more interesting all the time

    JH
    LOuisiana

  2. dad29 says:

    Tech-geek note.

    If you’re not aware of it, the picture you put at the header (I assume it’s that of the Cdl.) obscures the first graf of the article by superimposition on my IE7 (fully updated.)

  3. William says:

    I wonder if it is really appropriate for Cardinal Zen to be getting involved in Chinese politics like this. As an American, the idea of democracy naturally makes me feel warm and happy, but as a Catholic, I don’t see why democracy is preferable to anything else as long as The Church is free to pursue its mission of saving souls.

    I would be happier if Cardinal Zen would concentrate on improving the spiritual well-being of Hong Kong and leave the politics to others.

  4. Royce says:

    William,

    While I could offer many reasons why many forms of government are superior to
    democracy for the benefit of the Church, I think one can say that democracy is
    better for the Church than the atheistic communism that rules China. Cardinal Zen
    may only be Archbishop of Hong Kong, but this makes him the premminent churchman
    in the country of China. The Church has a place in politics in every country in
    which there are Catholics, as religion and politics are so closly intertwined, no
    matter how hard the secular world attempts to deny it. So Cardinal Zen has the duty
    to speak out in a situation where the Church cannot minister to Her flock because
    of the oppressive policies of the Chinese government. Since the Church can’t minster
    to souls in mainland China to the degree necessary, someone needs to take a stand,
    and Cardinal Zen is one of the only Catholics in China in the position to do so and
    with the fortitude to do so.

    God be with this couragous man.

  5. Royce says:

    William,

    While I could offer many reasons why many forms of government are superior to democracy for the benefit of the Church, I think one can say that democracy is better for the Church than the atheistic communism that rules China. Cardinal Zen may only be Archbishop of Hong Kong, but this makes him the premminent churchman in the country of China. The Church has a place in politics in every country in which there are Catholics, as religion and politics are so closly intertwined, no
    matter how hard the secular world attempts to deny it. So Cardinal Zen has the duty
    to speak out in a situation where the Church cannot minister to Her flock because
    of the oppressive policies of the Chinese government. Since the Church can’t minster
    to souls in mainland China to the degree necessary, someone needs to take a stand,
    and Cardinal Zen is one of the only Catholics in China in the position to do so and
    with the fortitude to do so.

    God be with this couragous man.

  6. Royce says:

    William,

    While I could offer many reasons why many forms of government are superior to democracy for the benefit of the Church, I think one can say that democracy is better for the Church than the atheistic communism that rules China. Cardinal Zen may only be Archbishop of Hong Kong, but this makes him the premminent churchman in the country of China. The Church has a place in politics in every country in which there are Catholics, as religion and politics are so closly intertwined, no matter how hard the secular world attempts to deny it. So Cardinal Zen has the duty
    to speak out in a situation where the Church cannot minister to Her flock because
    of the oppressive policies of the Chinese government. Since the Church can’t minster
    to souls in mainland China to the degree necessary, someone needs to take a stand,
    and Cardinal Zen is one of the only Catholics in China in the position to do so and
    with the fortitude to do so.

    God be with this couragous man.

  7. Prof. Basto says:

    In the future, it will be sung with regard to him:

    Ecce sacerdos magnus, qui in diebus suis placuit Deo / Non est inventus similis illi, qui conservaret legem excelsi.

  8. Royce says:

    Sorry that last one went up three times all funky. I was having a problem with IE.

  9. Beth v. says:

    Cardinal Zen is indeed a great priest. What courage!
    He is fulfilling the Pope’s notion of what a shepherd should be.

  10. Tim Hallett says:

    Truly he is the Wyschzinski of Asia!