An elderly woman in a wheelchair is pushed near an improvised church in the area occupied by pro-democracy protesters in Mongkok shopping district in Hong Kong Oct. 30. CNS photo/Damir Sagolj, Reuters

Hong Kong Christian leaders urge reconciliation at Christmas

By  Francis Wong, Catholic News Service
  • December 23, 2014

HONG KONG - Hong Kong Christian leaders urged reconciliation in their Christmas messages, issued within a week of the end of a 79-day protest.

"Christmas is a time for us to take a break and think," Hong Kong Cardinal John Tong Hon said in his Christmas message, issued Dec. 22.

"For the past year, our home has experienced a brief period of unrest. We were not able to feel much peace in our hearts," he said.

The cardinal issued at least three urgent appeals for dialogue during the so-called occupy movement, in which protesters closed down streets in an effort to force the Hong Kong and Chinese governments to allow true democracy in the city. The protesters felt government authorities have handpicked candidates for the 2017 election of Hong Kong's chief executive.

Cardinal Tong acknowledged that social unrest resulted in "conflicts and disagreements in the family, in schools, in the office, in various institutions and among friends."

"As followers of Jesus Christ, we have the responsibility to acknowledge those issues and promote reconciliation in our daily lives, in the name of Jesus," the cardinal said.

"We are also obliged to try our best to create a better Hong Kong for the younger generation," he said, praying that "the Christ Child help us to work together to raise happy families and to build a free and democratic Hong Kong."

Anglican Archbishop Paul Kwong said in his Dec. 21 Christmas message that reconciliation was deeply awaited in the city.

"Political strife has left us suspended in continuous restlessness," and he said those conflicts have left Hong Kong deeply wounded, with the damage extending to the economy, the rule of law and even the human relations.

"The joy of Christmas is the spirit of reconciliation," he said.

The Hong Kong occupy movement ended Dec. 15 when the police cleared the occupy site in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island.

On Dec. 11, police cleared the largest occupy site, next to the government headquarters. They arrest more than 200 people, including three former heads of the Bar Association, a dozen legislative councilors and three officers from the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.

The government has not responded to protesters' appeal for a true democratic election in 2017.

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