Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Activists test Beijing's appetite for protest
Rallies marking Tiananmen pass without incidentActivists display a banner in Guizhou that reads 'stop political persecution'
- ucanews.com reporter, Guizhou
- May 31, 2012
This year, however, the 73-year-old activist says things are different after leading a demonstration to mark the incident in Guizhou on May 28 and 29, a week before the 23rd anniversary of the turmoil.
Protestors held signs that read "stop political persecution" and shouted âlong live democracyâ and âdown with dictatorshipâ without incurring the wrath of police or authorities.
âThe Communist Party wants people to think that the government has changed and become more open, and that people have democracy and freedom to organize commemorative activities,â said Mi. âBut this is not true.â
He believes that authorities allowed the events, which each attracted about 100 people as well as foreign media, because of split views among Chinaâs leaders. Only two officials watched from a distance, he added.
âIt is admirable that the people of Guizhou are able to spontaneously take their memorial activities to the streets but one should not make an overly optimistic interpretation,â said Wen Yunchao, a social activist from the mainland who currently resides in Hong Kong.
His interpretation of why these displays have suddenly been permitted is different to that of Mi. Wen argues that the authorities were simply unprepared for demonstrations that came so far ahead of June 4.
These were also just small public displays he said, adding that family commemorative events on and around June 4 have been permitted by the authorities since 1989. Only large displays have been barred, he argues.
The real test of whether the government has grown more tolerant of public demonstrations in remembrance of what happened in Tiananmen Square would come next week on June 4 itself, said Wen.
Chinese people were noticeably braver discussing the Tiananmen Square protests this year, he observed, âbut these discussions remain confined to civilians and they are unrelated to what higher-up officials are doing.â
Or Yan Yan, project officer at the Hong Kong Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, described the protests in Guizhou as an âisolated incident for harmony.â
She said that events in the capital of Guiyang province contrasted sharply with the experiences of another activist, Fan Yanqiong in Fujian province, who found his home surrounded by police yesterday after he publicly mourned events in Tiananmen Square.
âIt is impossible we could have real [political] relaxation,â says Or.
She called for caution from coming to hasty conclusions that the Chinese government had become more lenient in dealing with such incidents.
â[We should] not just listen to what the party says but also watch closely what it does,â she said.
Eased censorship an illusion, says analyst
China tightens control to maintain order
Tiananmen museum wants artifacts