HONG KONG (LifeSiteNews) – The Diocese of Hong Kong has canceled the annual Mass in Hong Kong commemorating the Tiananmen Square Massacre, citing concerns over the national security law, days after Cardinal Zen was arrested.
The Hong Kong Catholic Social Communications Office told the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) that some of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese were “concerned” about holding the Mass in light of the National Security Law.
The communications office stated that “because frontline staff and some of the members of the Justice and Peace Commission of The Hong Kong Catholic Diocese are concerned about whether holding this event will be in breach of the implemented national security law, therefore [we] won’t hold a June 4th commemoration mass.”
This marks the first time in 30 years that no official commemorative event will be held, as even during COVID-19 restrictions at least seven churches in the Diocese of Hong Kong held Masses for the anniversary.
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“According to the Catholic faith, there can be different ways to commemorate those who died,” the statement continued. “Holding [M]asses are of course one of the means, but praying for those who died in private or in small groups is very meaningful as well.”
“However, our front-line colleagues … are concerned that such activity, if held this year, might violate the national security law now in force,” the diocese told the Washington Post.
Masses have traditionally been held in Hong Kong to commemorate the pro-democracy protest which was held in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, on June 4, 1989. The protests turned into a bloody massacre after hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops were mobilized against the protestors, firing live rounds into the unarmed civilians.
Early estimates suggested between several hundred and a couple of thousand people were killed. However, a recently declassified cable at the time from then-British ambassador to China Sir Alan Donald suggested at least 10,000 people were killed by the Chinese authorities.
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The diocese’s cancelation of the Mass comes days after emeritus bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, was arrested by the police allegedly for “colluding with foreign forces.” He appeared in court May 24, although for the different charge of failing to properly register a fund which offered legal and financial assistance to pro-democracy activists.
The arrest of Cardinal Zen and the four other trustees of the pro-democracy 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund was made possible under the terms of the draconian national security law, which was enacted June 30, 2020, prompting mass protests among residents.
The law has been widely criticized by many, including pro-abortion, pro-LGBT Amnesty International. According to the BBC, the still-secret law “criminalize[s] secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces.”
It has also been used to arrest outspoken Catholic pro-democracy and human rights advocate Jimmy Lai.
Please SIGN this petition calling on Hong Kong leader John Lee to cease all intimidation of Cardinal Joseph Zen following his arrest for supporting pro-democracy demonstrators.
Cardinal Joseph Zen, the Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, was arrested by the pro-China security police in Hong Kong in a major escalation of intimidation against pro-freedom activists in the region.
Zen was one of four people arrested on May 11th on suspicion of "colluding with foreign forces", with the 90-year-old's detention marking the first high-profile move by Hong Kong's new Chief Executive, John Lee.
The Hong Kong security police targeted Zen as a trustee of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which provided “legal, medical, psychological and emergency financial assistance” to those involved in the 2019 protests against the government’s Extradition Law Amendment Bill, which allows prisoners to be transferred to China for trial.
Cardinal Zen has since been released, but his passport was confiscated to prevent him leaving Hong Kong.
The arrest was made possible under the terms of Hong Kong’s draconian national security law, passed in 2020, which Zen warned would be used to silence the Church.
The outspoken cardinal previously confessed that he was prepared to go to prison under the terms of the new law, saying, “If right and proper words were considered against their law, I will endure all the suing, trials, and arrests.”
Cardinal Zen is a hero to Hong Kongers, and needs the world to stand with him today.
SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition calling on Hong Kong leader John Lee to cease all intimidation of Cardinal Zen today.
The people of Hong Kong, including Cardinal Zen, have lived under the shadow of Beijing since 1997, and know personally how oppressive Chinese Communist Party rule is.
This arrest of a Catholic cardinal by communist authorities in Hong Kong is a stark reminder of the harsh realities of life for all citizens of the region.
Cardinal Zen's plight demands the attention of all people of good-will, as his spirit of resistance in the face of tyranny continues to inspire new generations of Hong Kongers to defy the horrors of communist rule.
Please stand with Cardinal Zen today - SIGN and SHARE this petition calling for an end to the intimidatory tactics of the Chinese Communist Party's proxy leaders in Hong Kong.
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Hong Kong observers are now speculating whether the authorities are using the pretext of COVID-19 to clamp down on events marking the Tiananmen Massacre. In both 2020 and 2021, authorities curtailed or canceled anniversary events, citing concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
READ: Cardinal Zen offers Mass after his arrest, says ‘martyrdom is normal in our Church’
When asked by the HKFP if Tiananmen anniversary events would be allowed this year, the police refused to reveal such details. “As the deployment falls within operational details, police will not disclose such information,” the police force stated.
Following Zen’s arrest, despite outrage from all sectors of society, the Vatican has refused to take a firm position, merely referencing its “concern” at his arrest and that the Holy See “is following the evolution of the situation with extreme attention.”
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, added that Zen’s arrest should not be seen as a “disavowal” of Pope Francis’ secret deal with China. Parolin hoped that “initiatives such as this one will not complicate the already complex and not simple path of dialogue between the Holy See and the Church in China.”