Interreligious leaders plea for calm in Hong Kong

Call for protesters to act rationally following mob damage to Legislative Council
Interreligious leaders plea for calm in Hong Kong

A protester defaces the Hong Kong emblem after protesters broke into the government headquarters on July 1 on the 22nd anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China. (Photo by Philip Fong/AFP) reporter, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
July 2, 2019
Hong Kong's top interreligious body has called for calm after young protesters occupied and vandalized the Legislative Council (LegCo) on July 1.

The Colloquium of Six Religious Leaders of Hong Kong issued a statement after police used tear gas to force protesters out of the government building.

Various fixtures and facilities in the Legislative Council were damaged or destroyed, the statement said.

The colloquium, made up of delegates from Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, Protestantism, Taoism and Catholicism which is represented by Cardinal John Tong Hon.

The group asked that the people of Hong Kong resist any acts that undermine the law, harm peace or cause violent harm to others.

They requested people express their opinions in a rational and peaceful manner while likewise calling on the government and those opposing the protests to both listen to other opinions and communicate in a sincere manner.

The statement warned against any action that could exacerbate the former British colony's current predicament.

The Civil Human Rights Front said about 550,000 people participated in the demonstration on July 1 but police said the figure was closer to 190,000. ( photo)


The mob breaking into the LegCo came after weeks of mass protests against a controversial extradition law amendment, which critics fear could result in political dissidents being sent to the mainland despite the 'one country, two systems' administration in Hong Kong.

Attended by millions of people, the marches forced Catholic Chief Executive Carrie Lam to apologize to citizens and to suspend the bill containing the controversial amendment.

Prayer gathering

An estimated 550,000 people again marched against the law on July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997. Prior to that march, a prayer gathering organized by several Christian communities was held.

At the prayer gathering, Father Jacob Kwok Wai Ki warned that Hong Kong people should not fall into a trap of hating others.

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Father Jacob Kwok Wai Ki speaks during the prayer meeting. ( photo)


"Because when people's minds are full of hostility and hatred, they will enter the darkness," Father Kwok said.

The priest noted that in such circumstances people were unable to see the truth.

Christians should love their enemies and pray for those who are persecuted, he added.

During the prayer meeting, participants prayed and sang hymns.

Many of the 800 people who attended the prayer meeting later participated in the march.

Hong Kong people opposing the extradition law are demanding that the amendment be completely withdrawn, and many want Lam to step down as Chief Executive.

The prayer meeting held before the march on July 1. ( photo)

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