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Monday, October 14, 2019, 00:34
Bigotry poses danger in the name of faith
By Yang Sheng
Monday, October 14, 2019, 00:34 By Yang Sheng

It has been four months since the first wave of violence erupted at Admiralty, Hong Kong Island, in the second week of June, with billions of dollars in economic losses and immense human suffering caused by mostly members of the younger generation, including university and secondary school students. More than 1,000 rioters have been arrested so far, many of whom are students, the youngest being merely 12, who should have gone back to school when the new semester began early last month. Once convicted, they will carry a criminal record with them for the rest of their lives. It’s sad to know many of them are aided and protected by the church, whose role in the ongoing social turmoil has become dubious, to say the least.

In those socio-political crises, church and religion have been instrumental in motivating and supporting violent chaos one way or another, twice in Hong Kong in the past five years ... As such, one cannot but ask how could the church reconcile freedom and democracy with political prejudice and criminal behavior

People outside of Hong Kong may find it hard to believe, but many churches and the schools they run in the city have been used as temporary shelters and storage facilities for protesters, many of them actually engaged in well-organized attacks on government offices, police stations, public facilities and private properties day and night in the past four months. Some local chapters of certain churches declared their support quite early for the protests that started in the name of “no extradition to China”, but soon escalated into indiscriminate and often violent abuse of anyone who disapprove of the rioters’ unlawful behavior. By giving moral and actual support to young protesters, the church is apparently putting thousands of young students on the path of self-destruction.

Historically speaking, the Catholic Church has always been at odds with the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China in the past 70 years. That’s why, many observers believe, it’s so easy for churches in Hong Kong to side with the opposition camp regardless of the consequences or public opinion for that matter. Was anyone surprised when Cardinal Zen, now retired archbishop of the Catholic Diocese in Hong Kong, openly supported the “Occupy Central” illegal movement in fall 2014? Of course not, since he has always been a leading figure in all the political movements organized by the opposition camp to obstruct the administration of the Hong Kong SAR government.

Admittedly, this Catholic Church’s political standing has been rather consistent since the “cold war” era, as shown in its crucial role in the demise of the Warsaw Pact and “color revolutions” in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, particularly in Poland in the 1980s. It’s also worth noting that the role of religion and churches in political unrest designed to facilitate “regime change” around the world has long been linked to the clandestine activities of intelligence agencies such as the CIA, which needs no introduction. While Western governments are fond of calling themselves democracies and stick steadfastly to the doctrine of separating church and state, they have no qualms about using religion and churches as a means to the end, often in the name of freedom and democracy in addition to their “national interests”.

For example, the ongoing illegal campaign of wanton destruction and violence in Hong Kong has enjoyed unreserved support of all kinds from the US government, including Congress, and mainstream media since Day 1. One federal government official went so far as to admit the anti-extradition law amendment legislation campaign in Hong Kong definitely serves the national interest of his country, presumably because it is aimed at “liberating Hong Kong” from China. Although some other ranking officials have categorically denied Washington’s role in the widespread human rights abuse and destruction by rioters chanting “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of the times”, there have been numerous activities bearing the hallmarks of CIA involvement, just like those seen during previous “color revolutions” in recent years. And in those socio-political crises, church and religion have been instrumental in motivating and supporting violent chaos one way or another, twice in Hong Kong in the past five years.

As such, one cannot but ask how could the church reconcile freedom and democracy with political prejudice and criminal behavior that includes desecration of grave(s), arson and vandalism? Let’s hope the church could really be a place to spread love and provide care for other people, which they always claim to be, and not as the logistics center for violent protests that spread nothing but hatred.

The author is a veteran current affairs commentator.


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