THE Archbishop of Hong Kong, Dr Paul Kwong, has condemned protesters who stormed the territory’s parliament on Monday.
A group of activists broke away from protests to enter the building, where they smashed glass and raised the old British colonial flag. Protests have taken place for several weeks, sparked by an extradition Bill that critics believed could be used to send political dissidents from Hong Kong to China (News, 14 June).
Dr Kwong said on Wednesday: “I strongly condemn the storming and rampaging of the Legislative Building on 1 July. The assault was unprecedented in scale and intensity. It was deeply heartbreaking and terrifying for many like me to watch on television.
”Such violent acts are unacceptable to Hong Kong. There is no room for protests held in the form of riotous behaviour destruction of public properties and obstruction of public accesses. However, I respect the protests held mainly in peaceful and dignified manners as they were in the late June.”
Dr Kwong continued: “I urge the Hong Kong SAR [special administrative region] Governments and all parties concerned to quickly put into actions the promises they made in response to the protests by restoring the order and peace of the society, reforming the governing style, rebuilding the trust between people and government and stepping up the improvement on housing, education , medical and other services of livelihood.
“I plead the protesters to allow the SAR Government to deliver their promises to respond to their demands more in actions than in words.
“I continue to hold Hong Kong in prayers for stability and peace.”
A pastoral letter was released before Monday’s violence, signed by Dr Kwong together with the Bishop of Western Kowloon, the Rt Revd Andrew Chan, and the Bishop of Eastern Kowloon, Dr Timothy Kwok.
It praised “the innocent heart of most youth, who are willing to stand up for their ideals, to fight for the freedom that they cherish, and to face with courage against external threats; we also admire their determination to keep peace, rationality, mutual assistance, and the spirit of doing the undoable”.
It accused the Hong Kong government of “ignoring . . . the real worries and fears among the citizens. It [the government] did not pick up the voice of the citizens on time because it focused solely on amendments to the legislation. Such narrow focusing results in the absoluteness of the necessity of the amendments, which leads to stubbornness, partiality, and bias.
“When she was sworn in as the Chief Executive, Ms Carrie Lam said she would look for more opportunities to contact citizens and to listen to them. We hope that . . . the Chief Executive would, as she promised, serve the citizens and build Hong Kong with honesty, humbleness, willingness to accept criticism and to improve.”