The head of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese, Cardinal John Tong, has called on the government to rebuild trust and respect in society by listening to the voices of the people, and enforcing the law with conscience.
In an exclusive interview with the Holy See's official Vatican News, Tong said he's saddened by the present social situation, adding that Hong Kong people must remain hopeful, avoid violence, and do all they can to rebuild harmony.
Tong stressed everyone has a role to play in restoring normality, but the government must do its part to address young people's disappointment and desperation.
The Catholic church head's latest comment coincides with a prayer session held by the diocese at Chater Garden, where more than 300 people gathered to pray for peace in Hong Kong amid rising mistrust in the community.
In his speech, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha explained that the prayer meeting was not held in a church but at a public location to show the Catholic Church cares about society.
He said he hopes God can help people realise that everyone is human, not cockroaches, dogs or yellow objects.
Pro-government groups had often referred to protesters as “cockroaches”, while demonstrators had called police officers “dogs”. One senior police officer, meanwhile, had described a protester who was caught on camera being kicked by a number of officers in Yuen Long as being simply a “yellow object”.
Ha said Hong Kong is now filled with hatred and anger, warning violence will only breed more violence and will never bring about justice.
He once again called for an independent probe into the four-month movement, saying he hopes God can lead Hong Kong towards a path of reconciliation and peace by taking the first step of truth-seeking.
Meanwhile, one of those who attended the prayer session, Cheung, wanted to pray for her city as well as the young people.
“I am exhausted, but I think the young people may be more exhausted because the Chinese government never heard their voice. I need to get some strength from God”, she said.
Cheung added she hopes the One Country, Two Systems mechanism can remain intact, and Hong Kong can enjoy freedoms and universal suffrage promised in the Basic Law.
The crowds dispersed peacefully after around an hour.
'Govt should enforce the law with conscience'
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