Reverend Yuen Tin-yau, chairman of the Hong Kong Christian Council, has urged the government to listen to different voices in society to ensure a harmonious political and social environment.
At a gathering of religious circles Tuesday night to celebrate China’s upcoming National Day, Yuen said authorities must do their job with justice in mind.
One should pay heed to concerns of the pro-democracy camp as well as the pro-Beijing camps, he suggested.
The remarks were significant as the audience included, among others, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam and Deputy Director of the Liaison Office Yin Xiaojing, Apple Daily reported.
Yuen urged religious circles and government officials to lead the efforts to restore trust among various camps in Hong Kong and help build a harmonious and righteous society.
Meanwhile, he criticized moves in China to dismantle crosses at many churches. The crackdown on Christianity has led to some confrontations and the imprisonment of a number of believers.
At least 1,600 crosses have been torn down in Zhejiang province since authorities began their crackdown last year, according to the report.
Apple Daily noted that Yuen’s comments have sparked concern of some backlash from China against the Church in Hong Kong.
Lam and Yin have not offered any comment on Yuen’s remarks.
Kung Lap-yan, an associate professor at Chinese University’s Divinity School of Chung Chi College, said Yuen did not intend to criticize the government.
The religious leader was merely voicing the concerns of Hongkongers and Christians in a straight-forward manner, which required courage, especially given the presence of many officials at the gathering, Kung said.
But he was worried about the consequences, which might include further suppression of the Church by tightening the Christian leadership selection process or creating divisions within the community.
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