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Anglicans stay away from democracy protests: CEN 1.25.08 p 6. January 28, 2008

Posted by geoconger in China, Church of England Newspaper, Civil Rights, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui.

cardinal-joseph-zen.jpgDemocracy activists led by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen and the President of the Hong Kong Christian Council, the Rev. Ralph Lee Ting-sun of the Methodist Church led some 6000 protesters through the streets of the city last week demanding Peking reverse its decision to delay the introduction of universal suffrage.

However, Anglican leaders in Hong Kong were absent from last week’s democracy marches, sources tell The Church of England Newspaper, as the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui under former Archbishop Peter Kwong, and the current Archbishop Paul Kwong have followed a policy of non-interference in political affairs.

At a prayer meeting held before the start of the Jan 17 rally, Cardinal Zen called Peking’s decision not to introduce universal suffrage by 2012 “brutal.” The Roman Catholic Church would continue to agitate for the civil rights of the people of Hong Kong as guaranteed by international treaty and the Basic Law—Hong Kong’s governing charter, he stated.

In contrast to the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church in Hong Kong does not offer its comments or opinions on political issues and has taken no stance, for or against, democracy. Its clergy have been pressured not to participate in pro-democracy activities, and its leaders were absent from last week’s rally, sources in the Hong Kong church tell CEN.

At his installation on Sept 26 at St. John’s Cathedral, the new primate of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, Archbishop Kwong told the congregation the Anglican Church would not take part in Hong Kong’s campaign for universal suffrage or in “political activities. But it will observe the general social situation in order to see how it can be of useful assistance”.

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