In mid-May, Chinese leader Xi Jinping unveiled a plan to bypass Hong Kong’s legislature and impose draconian new “national security” laws on the former British colony. Putatively intended to defend Hong Kong from “secessionists,” “terrorists,” and “foreign influence,” these new measures are in fact designed to curb the brave men and women of Hong Kong’s vibrant pro-democracy movement, who have been aggravating the Beijing totalitarians for a long time. With the world distracted by the Wuhan virus (which the Chinese government’s clumsiness and prevarication did much to globalize), the ever-more-brutal Xi Jinping regime evidently thinks that this is the moment to crack down even harder on those in Hong Kong who cherish freedom and try to defend it.
This latest display of Beijing’s intent to enforce communist power in Hong Kong coincides with the most recent persecution of my friend, Jimmy Lai.
Jimmy and I have only met once. But I have long felt a kinship with this fellow Catholic, a convert who first put his considerable wealth to work in support of important Catholic activities and who is now risking all in support of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. Arrested in February, and then again in April, Jimmy Lai has been charged with helping organize and lead “unauthorized protests.” That he was in the front ranks of pro-democracy demonstrations is true. The question is, why do the Chinese communists regard peaceful protest in support of freedoms Beijing solemnly promised to protect as treasonous?
In late May, the thugs in Beijing tightened the ratchet of repression another notch: Jimmy Lai’s case was transferred to a court that could give the 72-year-old a five-year sentence, or even consecutive sentences. But what else could be expected from a regime that was already trying to bankrupt Lai’s pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily, by pressuring both Chinese and international firms to stop buying advertising space there? Shamefully, far too many have kowtowed to those pressures, and a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed article reported that Apple Daily is now cut off from 65 percent of the Hong Kong advertising market. Meanwhile, Beijing, while trying to reassure the business community that everything will be just fine, warns business leaders (as well as diplomats and journalists) not to “join the anti-China forces in stigmatizing or demonizing” the new national security laws….
Around the world, voices have been raised in support of Hong Kong’s brave pro-democracy demonstrators. Has the Holy See’s voice been heard? If so, I missed it and so did many others. Are strong representations in favor of religious freedom and other basic human rights being made by Vatican officials behind the scenes in Beijing and Rome? One might hope so. But if the Holy See’s current China policy is in fact a reprise of its failed Ostpolitik in central and eastern Europe during the 1970s, those representations are more likely tepid and wholly ineffectual.
With one of its most courageous Catholic sons now in the dock and facing what could be life-threatening imprisonment, the Vatican now faces a defining choice: Jimmy Lai or Xi Jinping?
The above comes from a June 3 story by George Weigel in First Things.
To ask the question is to answer it.
May Ignatius Cardinal Kung, through the mercy of God, rest in peace, and may he intercede for his countrymen and those who help them.
And what happened to Mayor Manayan, the mayor who put up the Communist flag in a California city and was forced to take it down. Where is he? We have not forgotten, and the Vietnamese Catholics and others have not forgotten.
I should have written former Mayor Manayan.
I was referring to a previous mayor of Milpitas, Ca., Henry Chang Manayan, who put the communist flag around 1993 and cause a fire storm and was forced to take it down.
Pope Francis has chosen sides and China has his vote. He will do what it takes to win their favor and the sheep will fall to the wolves. That’s where we are folks, the leader of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church has abandoned the flock and we are living with the fallout.
Might this be one California Catholic Daily posting where all who read this are in agreement?
The Pope bringing the predator McCarrick out of exile to “negotiate” away the appointment of Catholic bishops to Communist dictators and throw the non-government/underground Church under the bus seems indefensible.
Anonymous clergyman, you just might be right. Even jon might have to admit to the pope’s gross dereliction of duty. As things stand now, he has a lot of explaining to do, and it would be good of him to explain himself before the world so all can hear. But how does one explain away the indefensible? All he can do is make reparation for his sin, and again, do so publicly..
Anonymous Clergyman , Amen to you and Kristin !, I am always reminded of “Russia Will spread her errors ” that China or the CCP is one of those errors , as far as being in agreement I hope so but , lets wait and see.
Rip Van Weigel.
In 2015, Pope Francis said he wants a Vatican that operates with “absolute transparency.” Why then is the Vatican – Communist Chinese agreement still a secret?
And, remember, in December we were all told that the Vatican would release the McCarrick report “soon”. How many years is “soon?”
Since Vatican clergy haven’t been administering a lot of sacraments in the last 2-3 months, they should have had plenty of time to edit their secret documents before releasing them.
Why the darkness and secrecy?