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Cardinal urges calm amid turmoil

Calls for 'rational dialogue' as criticism mounts over scandal-plagued election

Cardinal John Tong speaking today at a press conference in Hong Kong Cardinal John Tong speaking today at a press conference in Hong Kong
  • ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong
  • March 2, 2012
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Newly elevated Cardinal John Tong of Hong Kong today urged the need for “rational dialogue” at a time when society has been divided over political controversies and ahead of a planned protest against the political situation tomorrow.

The diocesan leaders will not join the territory-wide protest tomorrow and will not encourage the Catholics to do so, he said during his first press conference after becoming cardinal on February 18.

“I think that Church leaders’ expressing opinions in a moderate way is more valued by others.”

Cardinal Tong said the Catholic diocese has already made its position on the incoming government quite clear, including a proposal for one person-one vote for chief executive and legislative elections in 2017.

He is scheduled to preside over a Mass tomorrow at the same time as a coalition of democracy and Christian groups take to the streets to demand immediate electoral changes.

Anger has grown among protesters over a series of alleged scandals involving candidates for chief executive as well as incumbent Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, who could face an investigation by the anti-graft department for alleged illegal business practices.

Cardinal Tong defended Tsang, a Catholic, calling him a “sincere person,” adding that the allegations of wrongdoing should not “overshadow his merits in his long service in the government.”

He further advised that society should “not overreact” but let authorities conduct their investigations because one of the values of Hong Kong is that “we have a sound legal system.”

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