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Catholic head in Hong Kong urges religious freedom in China

ICC Note

Bishop John Tong of Hong Kong called for respect of freedom of religion in China . China is infamous for violating freedom of religion of Christians and others in the country.

04/17/2009 China (AFP)-The new head of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong said Thursday he wanted to see religious freedom for worshippers in China as soon as possible.

But Bishop John Tong said he would not take part in the annual June 4 vigil to commemorate those killed after pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square 20 years ago, a key issue for his predecessor Cardinal Joseph Zen.

“We will spare no effort… in our role as a bridge Church to the Church in our motherland,” Tong told reporters at his first press conference after being officially appointed by the Pope on Wednesday.

“(We will spare no effort) to promote unity among the different groups of the Catholic Church in the mainland, and to see them enjoy full religious freedom as early as possible, so that they can make greater contributions to society.”

Zen was a staunch advocate for universal suffrage, taking part in marches on the issue and criticising the slow pace of political reform in mainland China .

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