Churches say Hong Kong needs universal suffrage

Churches say Hong Kong needs universal suffrage

As Hong Kong headed toward the choice of a chief executive on March 25, its churches raised their voices in support of universal suffrage.

Under the present political system, the government head is chosen by 1,200 electors who mainly coming from the business sectors and pro-Beijing groups.

The Hong Kong Christian Council held a prayer meeting March 23 in support of democracy in the former British colony, which was returned to China in 1997. “We are disoriented and angry,” said the council and the prayer meeting asked for suffrage in the next election in 2017.

“Hong Kong people and Beijing do not trust each other; it is a tense relationship,” the Rev. Lo Lung-kwong, dean of the ecumenical Chung Chi Divinity School said at the meeting. The Methodist theologian said Hong Kong’s seven million people could only be onlookers at the election and that hurts society.

Henry Tang, the son of a Shanghai businessman, is supported by Beijing and seen as the front-runner over his main challenger, real estate surveyor Leung Chun-ying.

The Rev. Po Kam-cheong, general secretary of the Christian council, told media that Christians were longing for the right to vote, and they need to participate in social ministry.

The Catholic Church condemned the March 25 election, calling it “closed-circle” and undemocratic.

The Catholic weekly Sunday Examiner said in an editorial that “whomever is elected will lack legitimacy in the eyes of the public” under the present election system. It said that the four government-head elections since 1997 have taken democratic development backward.

By Francis Wong, Ecumenical News International

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