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Cardinal Zen Calls On Chinese Bishops To Resist Political Pressure From Beijing

2009-04-02

Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiun
Bishop of Hong Kong
That means I had been always very frank and sometimes I even look excited. But I think in Honk Kong we are enjoying freedom of speech so I think its better to be frank and clear to help people to know the reality. Because not many people know the reality and not many can speak out. In Hong Kong we know the reality and we speak out. Its our duty to do that.


Cardinal Zen thinks although it is important, the truth cannot be sacrificed for the sake of diplomacy.  He does not hold back the fact that human rights in China are less respected now than before the Olympic games in August of last year.  


Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiun
Obispo de Hong Kong
This year is a very sensitive year because there are many anniversaries. The 50 years of Tibet, the 20 years of Tianamen Square, the 10 years of Falung Gong, so the government must be very nervous. That’s why they are even tougher. They want to control everything to put down what they call stability, means that everything should be under control.

Because of comments like these, some representatives of the Chinese Communist Party have accused  Cardinal Zen of not supporting his country.   Regardless, he says he loves China.  


Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiun
Obispo de Hong Kong
Everything we are doing and saying is just because we love our country. Because we see that this way of dealing with the church denying the freedom is a shame for our country. You know we know that all the other countries are doing good business with China. But in their hearts they don’t respect China. Because they know that there’s not much human rights.

This is why he encourages Chinese bishops to not cave to pressures from the government in Beijing, and to publicly show their communion with the Pope.  


Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiun
Obispo de Hong Kong
Surely people may say that sometimes compromise is necessary. But then compromise cannot become principle. Compromise can be temporary measure. But then the moment arrives when you have to have the principles to guide you and not the immediate advantage.


In May of 2007, Benedict XVI called on all Chinese bishops to publicly declare their loyalty to Rome.  Nearly two years later, Cardinal Zen encourages those who have not yet done so to not be afraid of the pressures. 


Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiun
Obispo de Hong Kong
They’re facing other kinds of punishment like money like opportunity to go abroad or something like that. But even if the principles requires the martyrdom, we have no choice. We don’t choose martyrdom. Martyrdom comes and we have to accept.

Organizations like Aid to the Church in Need say that the Chinese government has imprisoned at least three other bishops.  In the next few weeks, the Pope will appoint a new bishop of Hong Kong, and Cardinal Zen will dedicate himself exclusively to defending religious freedom in China .    


JMB/DDS