Hong Kong people must stand up for their rights and shouldn’t bow to pressure tactics from Beijing, Cardinal Joseph Zen said, slamming China’s recent white paper on Hong Kong policy.
The city’s former bishop, known for his outspokenness on issues such as human rights and political and religious freedoms, said Hongkongers must come forward to vote in the June 22 civil referendum being organized by the Occupy Central movement.
The 82-year-old Zen will begin a one-week tour of Hong Kong on foot from tomorrow to encourage people to take part in the referendum that aims to determine the public’s preference on three reform proposals for choosing the city’s next chief executive in 2017.
China’s white paper on Hong Kong is way out of line, Zen said. If it is implemented, there will be no real choice for Hong Kong people, and they will become enslaved, Apple Daily cited Zen as saying during a radio program.
The white paper, the first official document that says in black and white that the central government has “comprehensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong, marks disrespect for the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, Zen said.
He hoped that the white paper would awake more Hong Kong people. Participating in the upcoming civil referendum will be a way for locals to show to Beijing that they do not agree with the document, he said.
Hong Kong people have to maintain their self-respect, Zen said, adding that there will be dire consequences if they just accept their fate. They cannot bow to pressure, “because that will mean the end of us”, he said.
“If we don’t come forward, for sure we will not succeed. But if we come out (to vote), there may be miracles. So we have to persevere,” the former bishop said.
He also said that he does not see any room for compromise with the central government, and urged political parties not to make concessions to gain some short-term benefits.
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