HONG KONG has ended up being a ‘sitting city’ with the authorities only doing what China tells them to do, according to the editor of the territory’s Roman Catholic weekly newspaper, the Sunday Examiner.
In a Vatican Radio interview, Fr Jim Mulroney said that city authorities had shown themselves intransigent in the face of pro-democracy protesters’ demands: “It seems to me to be coming more apparent that they can only do what Beijing tells them they can do. What we have ended up with is a sitting city. We have got students sitting in the street and the government sitting on its hands.”
Authorities say police allegedly involved in the beating of one of the activists would be removed from their positions after footage of the incident went viral, sparking outrage from some lawmakers and the public.
“They have been attacked by triads, they were attacked by taxi drivers and truck drivers who have been getting frustrated”, adds Fr. Mulroney. “But what is interesting is that support for them is growing. Even people who may not support their tactics support their ultimate goal”.
That goal, and the reason behind the nearly three weeks of protest led by Students and the Occupy Central movement, is greater democracy and universal suffrage in the election of the Territory’s leader, the Chief Executive, due to be held in 2017. Beijing said on Aug. 31 that only candidates that get majority backing from a nominating committee appointed by Beijing would be able to contest a full city-wide vote to choose Hong Kong’s next leader.
The Catholic Church in Hong Kong is doing its best to provide pastoral and practical support for all involved. The Vicar General of the diocese has ordered the parish church closest to the protesters encampment to open a ‘comfort center’ where protesters can come to sleep and wash, or even just to talk and pray. Vatican Radio