Hong Kong’s retired bishop Cardinal Joseph Zen has urged Pope Francis not to visit China, saying he would “be manipulated” by the Communist regime, news website CatholicCulture.org reported.
The outspoken cardinal told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera that he would advise the Pope against the trip. He said the Chinese government would prevent the Pontiff from meeting with members of the “underground” Catholic Church, and would use the opportunity to boost the credibility of government-approved bishops.
But the report said Zen was responding to a speculative story; there have been no reports from the Vatican about plans for a papal visit to China.
Meanwhile, the cardinal slammed Beijing’s white paper on the “one country, two systems” principle, which stresses that Hong Kong derives its autonomy from the central government, which has ultimate authority over the special administrative region, Catholicism.org reported.
“You [Beijing] can tie me up, can take me away, chop my head off, but not as a slave,” Zen was quoted as saying in an online radio program earlier this week.
Hong Kong people should “not succumb to fate but maintain one’s own dignity”, he said, warning that “if we kneel down, everything will be finished”.
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