Bishop bashes Chinese government and church
Hong Kong's former church leader spoke about the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests and during a press conference on Monday.
Cardinal Joseph Zen said he wanted an official inquiry into what happened so future generations could tell the difference between right and wrong. Hong Kong, a former British colony, is the only place under Chinese rule where memorials to the massacre are held. The Cardinal, retired from his Hong Kong role, is an adviser to the Pope.
Zen served as the 6th bishop of Hong Kong and is noted for his outspoken disposition on human rights. He joined the 2003 candle light vigil for those who died during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Victoria Park, the only such monument in all of China.
China's official line on the Tiananmen massacre, in which hundreds, possibly thousands, of demonstrators and civilians were killed, is that the protests threatened Communist Party rule and had to be quelled.
"This is... the time when we commemorate June 4th," said Zen. "There is a need for justice to be made, not only as consolation for the... parents of [those who died], but also to teach the living generation what's right and what's wrong."
Zen said that it is time for the Chinese government to reverse the Tiananmen verdict and acknowledge those who died for democracy 20 years ago, which would be an advantage for the entire nation.
"Why cannot we say that Deng Xiaoping was wrong?" he asked. "I think it is safe to make a new assessment."
Zen also expressed his existing concerns about the spiritual health of the church in China and commented on bishops illegally ordained in 2006. He said that government corruption in China has spread to the church and that around 200,000 RMB had been spent to induct bishops illegally. He said that most of the bishops who had been ordained without the consent of the Pope had as of now been legitimized, however, the situation is still "very fluid."
"I'm sorry to say that there is no freedom," he said. "In China, at least the Catholic church is not free."
Zen officially resigned as bishop of Hong Kong in April 2009. He said that his recent retirement may result in less public speeches on his part, however, he could not ignore events concerning the entire nation, such as the commemoration of the June 4th movement.
"I suppose I may be less vocal," he said. "All the problems of Hong Kong are for the new bishop."