Hong Kong Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops have called for social justice in their Christmas messages - writes Francis Wong
Hong Kong Catholic Bishop John Tong praised human rights' defenders in China as 'shining stars' directing the wise men from the East to find the infant Jesus in Bethlehem of Judea.
"Today in Hong Kong and in our Motherland, a number of shining stars are manifested. For example, [Nobel Peace Prize laureate) Liu Xiaobo, who is in prison for promoting human rights, as well as Zhao Lianhai who uncovered the truth about the tainted milk scandal," Bishop Tong said in his Christmas message on 23 December.
He also praised clergy from the underground church who are behind bars for defending religious freedom saying they are stars who witness their faith. "I have great respect for all of them. I hope and pray that they will soon be set free, and enjoy their civil rights and freedom of belief, so that they will be able to make an even greater contribution to society and our nation will enjoy an even greater international reputation."
Anglican Primate Paul Kwong for his part noted that there is a rising resentment against the rich and powerful in the Hong Kong society. He added it is an unhealthy situation, but understandable, for there are more than 1.2 million people living in poverty, out of the 7 million population. At the same time, the rich are earning more, he said.
"There have been many instances of social injustice recently. While economic profits fall into the hands of a very small number of rich people, the majority work hard, but cannot share in the achievements…the poor people are disillusioned," Archbishop Kwong said.
He said that it is the duty of all social sectors, including the government, to improve the situation for social integration. Kwong insisted that the business sector should share its economic achievements with the poor, and the government should build a just and fair environment.
"Give people a ray of hope, and don't push them into a corner. That is the core message of Christmas," he said in a statement made available to ENInews.
[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches. It suspends operations in December 2010, but hopes to be restructured in early 2011]