Hong Kong Bishop Says China Hasn't Changed

HONG KONG, JULY 21, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Living under the shadow of Communism for 50 years has made many Chinese muffle their dissent, but Hong Kong Bishop Joseph Zen’s critical voice seems to have risen in volume.

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Since his first day as bishop in 2002 of Hong Kong’s 200,000-plus Catholics, Bishop Zen has decried the Chinese government’s lack of religious freedom. He told the Financial Times recently that many people think China has changed and allows its residents to practice religion freely.

“It is very hard to convince people that there is a conspiracy,” Bishop Zen said. “Good people never believe there is a conspiracy. They are good. They think everyone is good. But they don’t know the communists.”

In October 2002, when he was making the transition from assistant bishop to bishop after the death of Cardinal John Wu, he gave an interview with Time magazine. He told the magazine that as the new bishop, he wouldn’t mute his dissent, but would have to be more indirect.

Asked whether clerics should stay out of politics, Bishop Zen responded, “We don’t like to call it politics. It’s human rights, it’s basic rights, it’s not politics.”

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