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Archbishop says Beijing plans to outlaw Church in Hong Kong

Hong Kong's Archbishop Joseph Zen has told Vatican Radio that a constitutional change towards the former British colony's full incorporation into the Beijing government would make Hong Kong's Catholic Church illegal.

The archbishop said that Chinese leaders, in discussing the new constitutional arrangement, often "say sensible things, and do something quite different."

He reported that most of the people of Hong Kong are optimistic about the results of their integration in to the society of mainland China, but remain cautious.

However, Archbishop Zen noted that while China has opened its society to commerce and tourism, the Communist government still maintains tight controls on religious activities. He observed that "not many people realise the true situation regarding the politics of religion - which has not fundamentally changed in recent years. It is still very negative, very restrictive."

The archbishop predicted that the Beijing government would not tolerate the current situation, in which the Archdiocese of Hong Kong is clearly subject to the Pope, "because they want to control everything." The Communist government insists that the "official" Catholic Church of China must be subject to government control, and does its best to suppress the underground Church loyal to the Holy See.

Catholic World News

China: Bishop Zen Denounces Attack of Government against Catholic Schools (Vidimus Dominum)
Lunch with the FT: Bishop Joseph Zen (Financial Times)
Beijing tightens its grip on Hong Kong (CNN 9/9/03)
Hong Kong Catholics pray, fast in protest of anti-subversion bill (14/7/03)
Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong

23 Sep 2003