Archbishop Kwong's stance on China is condemned
CIVIL-RIGHTS groups and residents of Hong Kong have been outraged by the support of Archbishop of Hong Kong Pastor Paul Kwong for China's new national security law (NSL), which gives the state wide-ranging powers to suppress opposition.
Archbishop Kwong wrote to the Church Times last Friday welcoming the new law, which, contrary to a warning from Roman Catholic bishops in Asia, would not jeopardize religious freedom.
Hong Kong Sheng Kung HuiThe Archbishop of Hong Kong, the most revered Paul Kwong
International criticism of the new law was not an expression of the "Christian mood, but the anti-Chinese mood" and he was proud to live in China.
“Many critics do not accept that we are part of China. You only emphasize two systems, not a country. I value our freedoms in Hong Kong – especially freedom of religion and freedom of life – as much as anyone else, and I don't think this law will change that. I am also proud to live in China.
“Many of the street protesters and rioters have carried British or American flags advocating Hong Kong independence, inviting foreign nations to intervene in local affairs, and as we have seen, they have committed acts that no society can tolerate . I support the right to a peaceful demonstration, but I cannot tolerate violence or support political views against China. "
He criticized the view that the United States and Britain were "the benevolent protector and savior of Hong Kong".
“In fact, China has helped and supported Hong Kong and our employees over the years. We are part of China; we are dependent on China; and we benefit from China, ”he concluded. The archbishop has been a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's highest advisory body, since 2013.
The Anglican Church in Hong Kong counts approximately 40,000 from a Christian community of approximately 900,000.
The new national security law bans secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, but is so broad that demonstrators have already been arrested for holding flags of independence.
The Chinese primary elections for the weekend before the September legislative elections were declared illegal by China and an investigation was conducted into whether they violated the new security law. Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said this week that the primaries "could fall into the category of undermining state power, which is now one of the four types of crime under the new national security law."
The Human Rights Watch organization accused Archbishop Kwong of spreading the "Chinese Communist Party propaganda" and said the new law threatens religious freedom.
“The archbishop's views are remarkable in that they misrepresent the nature of the Hong Kong protests and are closely aligned with the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda.
“The national security law seriously undermines the rule of law in Hong Kong and threatens the freedoms of people on the territory, including freedom of religion. The Chinese Communist Party's longstanding persecution of Christians in China is well known, and the vague crimes contained in the NSL have been used against Christian pastors and believers in China. Early Rain Church's Wang Yi was sentenced to nine years in prison in December 2019 for "inciting subversion" (News, January 3).
Hong Kong residents have written to the Church Times to protest Archbishop Kwong's support for the new law. One accused him of "betraying your god" and another said Dr. Kwong's attitude is "amazingly unchristian".
"If you appease brutality by hoping it won't happen to you, you can't expect to be saved when it does," writes a resident, Lee Faulkner.
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