Hong Kong: Church calls for investigation into Tiananmen Square deaths

Tanks approach crowd

Tanks approach crowd

There have been calls from the Catholic Church in Hong Kong for an investigation into the Tiananmen Square massacre. Speaking during a commemoration Mass on May 29 at the diocesan cathedral, retired Cardinal Zen said an investigation must take place "not out of revenge, but to discover the truth."

"We just hope the same tragedy does not happen again...It is not possible for us not to be anxious, to be worried that if the situation continues it will be more and more difficult to find the truth," he added.

On June 4, 1989, student protesters gathered at Tiananmen Square in the capital, calling for a democratic system and clean government. Troops moved into the square to disperse the protesters. Unofficial figures say 2,000-3,000 people were killed.

Cardinal Zen observed that after two decades, the younger generation might "lose
awareness of and interest in this big historical event."

He added: "History contains sufferings, groaning and labor pains, but for those who
have faith, it also contains waiting, perseverance and expectation."

All three of the diocese's vicars general and five other priests concelebrated the
Mass attended by about 400 Catholics. At its end they prayed that the patriotic
spirit of the June 4 Incident would motivate today's Chinese people to build a clean
and democratic country.

The Union of Hong Kong Catholic Organizations in Support of the Patriotic and
Democratic Movement in China organized the special anniversary Mass at the

Mass was held there this year to "sharpen the message," said Or Yan-yan, project
officer of the Justice and Peace Commission, a member of the union. Since 1989,
annual commemorative Masses were held in some parishes. It is common for these to
come ahead of June 4, on which night large crowds take part in a territory-wide

Prior to the Mass, the Catholic union, formed in 1989, screened a video of scenes of
what has been called 'the June 4 Incident' with comments from some priests and laypeople.

On June 1, Cardinal Zen reiterated his hope that the Chinese government would
reassess the tragedy. In a speech at the Foreign Correspondent Club in Hong Kong, he stressed that vindication would be to the advantage of the country.

Pointing to ever-worsening corruption in China, he told reporters that "such
practices have also penetrated the Church."

The mainland-born prelate noted that Chinese government officials bribed mainland
bishops with handsome amounts of money to build or renovate churches. One mainland
bishop received 700,000 (US$102,498) yuan and another 200,000 yuan to attend the
ordination of a bishop who had no papal mandate, he added.

Source: Fides

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