|China||HONG HONG BISHOP CONCERNED FOR FUTURE OF CHINESE CATHOLICS|
The rejection of a papal visit to Hong Kong by Chinese authorities is only the tip of the iceberg of bad feelings and worries for the future of Catholics in China, according to Hong Kong's Coadjutor Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun.
A month ago, the Beijing government officially refused the request, stating that the trip would "not be convenient, because the Holy See has relations with Taiwan and not with China."
Many experts on China have stated that the government is actually afraid of the Pope's influence and of the Catholic Church, especially in relation to its defense of the family. If the Catholic Church were to organise a vocal opposition to the one-child policy, it could easily lead to generalised revolution in China, since the policy is accepted only grudgingly.
In an interview in the Italian magazine "Jesus," Bishop Zen Ze-Kiun stated, "We wanted the visit, but we had very little hope, even though Beijing itself would have obtained a great improvement in its image, also giving the impression that nothing had changed in Hong Kong since its passage to China."
When asked what had actually changed, Bishop Zen said things are 'going backwards'. "This is dangerous and creates a sense of frustration. Hong Kong deserves more democracy. The formula is, 'One country, two systems,' but you have to look at whether they are insisting more on the unity of the country or on the respect for the two systems. We have to remain alert. Now it is somewhat dangerous for me to speak, because they have a great fear of dissidence; nonetheless, I maintain that it is a service to the truth to say what is happening."
Zenit (available soon) 11:11am 9/9/99