The head of the Catholic church in Hong Kong, Cardinal John Baptist Wu Cheng-chung, has died, local television reported yesterday. Cardinal Wu, 77, had been suffering from cancer and diabetes. He had been in hospital on and off since July. Earlier this month, Pope John Paul issued an open letter praising the cardinal's "fruitful and distinguished" ministry. Cardinal Wu was the fifth bishop Hong Kong since 1975. He was ordained to the priesthood on 8 December 1952 in Hong Kong. In 1988, he was the first church official in the territory to be appointed cardinal. Cardinal Wu took tough stands on human rights after the handover, criticising the government's handling of the right-of-abode issue as 'lacking humanity' in 1999. He also officiated at the controversial canonisation of 120 Chinese and foreign saints in 2000 - despite the mainland's disapproval of such ceremonies.
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