Hong Kong archbishop urges accommodation with Beijing

Archbishop Paul Kwong urges protestors to address “injustice” in a “Chinese way”, “quietly” and without “public campaigns”

The Archbishop of Hong Kong has defended his policy of accommodation with the Chinese government in Beijing, saying democratic change will not arise through direct confrontation with the Communist regime. The Most Rev. Paul Kwong, Primate of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui has been sharply criticized by pro-democracy activists for his support of the government and his membership in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. He defended his stance on 20 July 2016 saying membership in the government advisory body gave him a platform to press for reform.  In an address to the 10th annual gathering of the Ecclesiological Investigations International Research Network, Archbishop Kong warned the tone of political discourse in the territory was worrisome. “There have been disturbing incidences between Hong Kong people and visitors or tourists from the mainland. There has been a growing sense of discrimination, xenophobia and Hong Kong people first attitude among many people,” he said, noting some politicians had been calling for “restrictions and reductions of quotas of immigrants from the mainland,” he said. “As I have said publicly on more than one occasion, I deplore such views, which stand in opposition to family reunion and are not in line with the basic human rights and justice.” The church should “promote reconciliation in our polarized society so we can move toward some kind of peaceful coexistence,” he said, adding that direct action through political protests was unlikely to succeed. He and his colleagues on the government advisory board addressed “issues of injustice in China and in Hong Kong in a Chinese way. We do this quietly and do not shout from the rooftop or mount public campaigns.” The archbishop told Vatican Radio dialogue is a must” because “differences cannot be resolved by accusations and insults”.

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