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Diocese publishes 'open letter' on social policy

Concern over widening rich-poor gap

An elderly woman collects discarded cartons for resale (Photo courtesy of The Sun) An elderly woman collects discarded cartons for resale (Photo courtesy of The Sun)
  • ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong
  • September 21, 2012
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The Hong Kong Catholic Diocese today published an open statement in two local newspapers urging the newly elected government and legislative council to implement more just and family-friendly policies.

The statement, which appeared in Chinese and English language daily newspapers, called on the government to reassess policies on population rise, housing, medical care, education and welfare for Hong Kong residents.

Among the primary concerns raised by the Church was growing poverty. The statement noted that there are currently more than one million people in Hong Kong living below the poverty line – most of them elderly residents.

To eliminate the widening rich-poor disparity, the statement called for “reforming land and housing policies to assist local citizens in purchasing residential flats” and “introducing an income subsidy scheme for people who have jobs but live in poverty and do not get social security assistance.”

The diocese advised the government to work with religious groups and other non-government organizations to build social networks and social capital to achieve improvements to livelihoods.

Father Dominic Chan, the diocese’s vicar general, told ucanews.com that the statement targeted the new government and all residents of Hong Kong.

“Social matters are also Church matters, so we have to express our views in a concrete way,” he said.

“We hope to get a positive response from the government so that the grassroots can enjoy a more secure life.”

The diocese said the open letter was a new initiative to make public its position on government policies through secular media.

A similar advertisement addressing universal suffrage was published in secular newspapers in February.

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