August 13, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Zen, the outspoken retired bishop of Hong Kong, acknowledged in an interview that the “so-called national security law” recently enacted by mainland China’s government makes it easier for the Chinese Communist Party to punish the city’s protesters and reduces the autonomy of the once independent city-state.
The new law, which was kept under wraps before it was passed on June 30 by the mainland legislature — a move that circumvented and overrode Hong Kong’s established law — criminalizes any acts deemed to be succession, subversion, terrorism, or collusion with foreign or external forces.
The sweeping new law gives the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) new powers to squelch resistance to the mainland’s ever tightening control over the compact, thriving economic hub.
“It effectively strips away the freedom of speech and protest for the people of Hong Kong,” observed Raymond Arroyo as he interviewed Cardinal Zen.
“We are at the mercy of this new commission,” said Zen. “We don’t have religious freedom because we don’t have freedom.”
“I went through the whole text of the law,” said Zen, who summarized the impact of the new law on Hong Kong’s Catholics.
“It’s easy to tell you in just one sentence: ‘Now they can do anything,’” he declared, referring to the CCP.
Zen suggested that the Vatican respects the Chinese government — run by the CCP — too much. “The Vatican is constantly pursuing a policy of submissiveness to the Chinese government.”
“I hope the whole world can now be awakened,” said the prelate. “We now can see the real face of the Chinese Communist Party and it’s now spiritual warfare between the lie and the truth, between the selfish desire of power of domination and concern for other people.”
“It’s a warfare between the good and evil, so I hope the whole world should stand up,” added the retired cardinal.
Zen told CNA he has ‘no confidence’ that the new National Security Law will respect the religious freedom of Catholics and that while many would find official diocesan support for the implementation of the law “disappointing,” “on the other hand, it will be a lot of trouble if we don’t support the government. We never know what they will do to our Church.”
Hong Kong’s dicoesan schools told to indoctrinate Catholic students regarding the new National Security Law
A pair of letters addressed to Hong Kong’s nearly 200 Catholic schools in advance of the new school year, intended to promote the new National Security Law and squelch political unrest among teachers and students, underscore Zen’s concern.
Episcopal delegate for education Peter Lau Chiu-yin sent a letter urging Hong Kong diocesan schools “to help students understand the ‘national security’ law, ‘respect the national flag’ and ‘the national anthem,’ as well as ‘foster the correct values on their national identity,’” according to a report by Asia News. Lau said each school “should have a ‘mechanism’ to monitor ‘teaching materials, assignments, examination papers and books’ used in the classroom.”
A second letter, from Ingrid Yeung, Hong Kong permanent secretary for education, said schools must uphold “national values” as well as stop student political activities. Teachers accused of “rioting” or “arson” should be suspended at once, according to the same Asia News report.
It’s no wonder that the CCP is using the new National Security Law to apply pressure on Hong Kong’s schools. Asia News explains: “Among the more than 9,000 people arrested (as of June 2020) since the start of the protest movement, about 3,725 are students, 45 per cent from secondary schools.”