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
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
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.