Vatican City (AsiaNews) - After returning to Hong Kong, "I hope to be in time to go - with everyone else involved - and hand myself over to police for having committed an act of civil disobedience in occupying public space for a day and a night. I hope they jail me for a few days, so I'll have time to pray for all of you". This how Card. Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, concluded his intervention at the AsiaNews International Symposium 2014 entitled "Mission in Asia: From Pope John Paul II to Pope Francis".
The cardinal, who has always worked to make the Church in Hong Kong a "bridge church" to mainland China, focused his speech not only on the limitations imposed by Beijing on relations with the Vatican, but also on why the Dragon Asia is so afraid of religious freedom.
"I dare not speak for all of Asia - the cardinal said - but I am convinced that the path to mission in China is people: people in society, the society of people, as individuals created in the image of God". For this reason, when analyzing the important role that the Catholic Church has had in the fall of communist regimes in Eastern Europe, Beijing fears religious freedom. "Humanistic atheism - said Card. Zen - opposes God to man and man to God. If there is a God, people will worship Him, so let's remove God".
After a historical overview and some personal anecdotes - like when St. John Paul II told him "I want to go to China! I want to go to China!" - The prelate explains the current battle for freedom going on in his diocese: "I am proud to say that, thanks to a competent Commission for Justice and Peace, the Church in Hong Kong is accompanying our people in the struggle for peace democracy, faithfully following the Church's social teaching".