ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
Updated: July 20, 2017 03:40 AM GMT
The Mass for Liu Xiaobo organized by the Hong Kong Diocese's Justice and Peace Commission at Holy Cross Church on July 18. (ucanews.com photo)
More than 700 people attended a memorial Mass in Hong Kong for Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo who died in a hospital in China last week while under guard.
Father Louis Ha, ecclesiastical adviser of the Justice and Peace Commission in Hong Kong Diocese, concelebrated the Mass at Holy Cross Church on July 18 with five other priests and four permanent deacons.
Father Ha said in his homily that though Liu was not a Catholic, he lived a life in line with church ideals of mercy and sacrificed himself for peace.
"Liu said he had no enemy. This is not just in writing. He said this after he suffered much and forgave the many insults that he received," Father Ha said.
A black and white portrait of Liu sat by an empty chair which had on it white and red roses that represented his participation in the pro-democratic June 4 student movement in 1989.
Besides commemorating Liu, people at Mass also prayed for his wife Liu Xia and other dissidents in China.
Liu, 61, was sentenced to 11 years for inciting subversion of state power on Dec. 25, 2009 for his leading role in the Charter 08 manifesto. He was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."
Suffering late-stage terminal cancer, Liu was released from prison June 26 and spent his last days hospitalized until he died on July 13.
Change in China?
John Lam, a young Catholic who attended the Mass, said he appreciated Liu's non-violent efforts to try and push China toward democracy but he was not positive about any prospects for change on the mainland.
"You can see after the June 4 movement, there was no improvement in democracy and human rights in mainland China," Lam told ucanews.com.
Lam criticized the Chinese government for not allowing Liu to choose how he wanted to be buried.
After Liu died, his body was quickly cremated and the ashes were spread over the sea two days later.
On the same day after the sea burial, Liu Xiaoguang, the elder brother of Liu Xiaobo, said at a press conference organized by authorities, that the government arranged the funeral according to the family's wishes.
According to Yu Jie, a writer and good friend of Liu Xiaobo, Liu Xiaoguang is close to the Communist Party and holds a different political point of view from his brother and that they rarely met.
At the press conference, Liu Xiaoguang thanked the Party three times for providing "humane care" to his brother during his hospitalization until his death.
He also explained Liu Xia's absence in the press conference due to her "weak condition" as she was experiencing "great sorrow."
Liu Xia who has been under house arrest since 2010 and has suffered a serious heart condition and depression. Her last appearance was at the scattering of Liu's ashes at sea as shown in a video provided by the authorities. International groups have called on the Chinese authorities to free her.
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