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HK faithful fear impact of new law on religion


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Cardinal Joseph Zen (陳日君) fled the communist takeover of China as a teenager and found sanctuary in Hong Kong, a bastion of religious freedom that he now fears could disappear under Beijing’s tightening grip.

The 88-year-old former bishop of Hong Kong has spent his retirement looking on with increasing alarm at the Vatican’s embrace of Beijing — and the imposition of a sweeping security law has only heightened his fears.

“As I can see in the whole world, where you take away the freedoms of the people, religious freedoms also disappear,” Zen said from Salesian Mission he joined as a novice seven decades ago.

Hong Kong has been a haven for faiths both before and after its 1997 handover to China. On the authoritarian — and officially atheist — mainland, religion is strictly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Under Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) crackdowns have intensified — from the demolition of underground churches to the widespread incarceration of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang and a new campaign to “sinicize” religions.

In contrast, Hong Kong boasts a dizzying array of faiths, including proselytizing groups barred from the mainland, such as the Latter Day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Falun Gong.

However, Zen wonders how long that can last.

After huge and often violent democracy protests convulsed Hong Kong last year, China’s leaders launched a clampdown and on June 30, imposed a broadly worded National Security Law that outlawed certain views and ushered in a new political chill.

https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2020/10/09/2003744881

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Cardinal Joseph Zen (陳日君) fled the communist takeover of China as a teenager and found sanctuary in Hong Kong, a bastion of religious freedom that he now fears could disappear under Beijing’s tighteni

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