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Archbishop of Hong Kong warns that road to peace is long

17 October 2014

by a staff reporter


Clear-up: police remove protesters' barricades in Hong Kong on Tuesday

Clear-up: police remove protesters' barricades in Hong Kong on Tuesday

THE Archbishop of Hong Kong, the Most Revd Paul Kwong, has yielded to pressure to comment on the protests that have rocked the city, and has issued a statement urging protesters and the government to seek reconciliation.

Archbishop Kwong, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, had remained silent during more than two weeks of protests, in contrast with bishops in the Roman Catholic Church, who have been on the streets supporting the pro-democracy protests.

In his statement, the Archbishop has now said: "The past few weeks have been times of turbulence and unease in our city. The Occupy Central movement has revealed the increasing polarisation in our society in terms of ideas about political reform, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the position of Hong Kong in China and the world.

"Men and women from all walks of life have taken different standpoints on the Occupy movement as communities, families, schools, and churches become increasingly divided over claims and counter-claims that have been made."

Many people had been "inconvenienced" by the protests, he said - a reference to drivers, angered by the impact of the protests on the transportation network.

The Church was there to promote mutual understanding, the Archbishop said, although he warned that there was a long road to travel if this was to be achieved.

"In order to engage in real dialogue, we need to develop greater trust in one another. However, this is not yet happening. Our clergy and laity, and all people in Hong Kong share the gravity of the situation, and acknowledge the present ordeal as an extraordinarily difficult time of trial. We will face a situation of deep internal conflict and division for a long time to come."

The demonstrations are now into their third week, and, although they are largely peaceful, the city's pro-Beijing chief executive, Leung Chun-Ying, has said that the protesters' demands - including the call for him to stand down - will not be met.

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