Tiananmen: Le Wojtyla chinois ne mâche pas ses mots (Chinese Karol Wojtyła speaks out once again)

Tiananmenwroclaw

Tout ce qu’ils demandaient, c’était un gouvernement propre – est-ce un péché? Et ce qu’ils souhaitaient, c’était une nation forte – est-ce un péché ? Tout ce que nous faisons, c’est poursuivre leurs aspirations. oui, l’économie s’est améliorée et il y en a qui ont gagné plein d’argent, mais la corruption est partout, les écarts de revenus sont énormes, les mines continuent à avaler des ouvriers et le faux lait en poudre et les faux médicaments inondent le marché – c’est ça, le progrès? S’ils avaient écouté le conseil des étudiants et des ouvriers, le pays ne serait-il pas aujourd’hui un meilleur pays ? Le cardinal Zen

Comment ne pas saluer, en ce 17e anniversaire du massacre de centaines d’étudiants par les chars de Tiananmen et pendant que le monde entier, Google comme Windows ou la France, s’aplatit devant les gros contrats des massacreurs de Beijing …

La rare voix de cette sorte de Karol Wojtyla chinois (surnommé d’ailleurs dans sa ville la « Conscience de Hong Kong ») qui, comme chaque année et deux mois après sa nomination par Benoit XVI comme cardinal, n’a pas hésité une fois de plus à fustiger le régime ?

Cardinal criticizes Beijing on Tiananmen
Keith Bradsher
The New York Times
June 4, 2006

HONG KONG The highest official of the Roman Catholic Church in China marked the 17th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square killings on Sunday by strongly criticizing the government and calling on it to hold a full and open review of the killings.

The criticism by Cardinal Joseph Zen, who is also bishop of Hong Kong, is the latest sign that the Vatican may not be willing to compromise on human rights in order to establish diplomatic relations with China. Pope Benedict XVI has pursued the normalization of ties with Beijing for the past year, but those efforts have been on hold lately after the government-approved church on the mainland installed two priests as bishops without the Vatican’s approval.

Wearing the red-and-white robes he was given after Pope Benedict XVI made him a cardinal in March, Zen walked straight from a Mass at the cathedral here to a prayer meeting on an indoor basketball court next door. He defended the students who died in and around Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, whom Beijing has labeled as counterrevolutionaries seeking to overthrow the state.

« All they asked for was a clean government – is that a sin? » he said. « And what they wished for was a strong nation – is that a sin? All we’re doing is pursuing their aspirations. »

The Communist Party bases its legitimacy to a considerable extent on the prosperity it has brought to many of China’s 1.3 billion people. But Zen questioned whether this was enough, citing coal mine disasters and consumer safety scandals that have embarrassed Beijing repeatedly in recent years.

« Yes, the economy has improved and some people have earned lots of money, but corruption abounds, the gap in wealth is huge, mines keep swallowing workers and fake milk powder and fake medicines are flooding the market – is this considered an improvement? » he asked. « If they had listened to the kind advice of the students and workers, would today’s country be a better country? »

Liu Bainian, the secretary general of the government-approved Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association in Beijing, voiced surprise that Zen had spoken out on the Tiananmen Square killings. « According to God’s holy teachings, what belongs to Caesar should be left with Caesar, and what belongs to God should be left with God, » he said by telephone.

The Roman Catholic Church in Hong Kong has marked each anniversary of the Tiananmen Square killings since 1990. Zen, the bishop of Hong Kong since 1996, has been especially vocal at the anniversaries since 2003. That was when Hong Kong’s own democracy movement enjoyed a brief moment of influence by holding huge street demonstrations that forced the local government to withdraw plans for internal security legislation.

But Pope Benedict’s decision to elevate Zen this spring has antagonized Beijing and raised his visibility considerably. As late as Saturday, diocese officials here did not know whether the Vatican would allow Zen to return to Hong Kong and attend the prayer meeting.

Mainland officials have occasionally suggested that Zen makes intemperate remarks on the spur of the moment. But the cardinal read from a prepared text at the prayer meeting Sunday, and his aides distributed copies of the text to reporters to prevent any confusion; Zen later left without taking questions.

Liu, a longtime rival of Zen’s, questioned whether the cardinal’s remarks would disrupt contacts between the Vatican and Beijing. « One cannot associate every act with Sino-Vatican relations, » he said, adding, « I believe the Vatican will not support him. »

The Vatican has long kept silent regarding Zen’s statements about China, but his elevation to become cardinal has been widely viewed as a sign of Pope Benedict’s support for his positions.

Cardinal Zen did not attend the vigil, which was not organized by the church. The vigil’s organizers, a group that has supported the students’ cause ever since 1989, estimated the crowd at 44,000 people. But the Hong Kong police put the crowd at 19,000.

After reading his speech, Zen sat quietly through a slide show that included photos of Catholic priests jailed for refusing to join the state-controlled church. The slide show also included a photo of Zheng Enchong, a lawyer jailed after he helped Shanghai residents sue a developer who was demolishing their homes with what the residents described as inadequate compensation. About 120 people attended the prayer meeting, which was organized with little notice.

The authorities on the mainland have long barred any public remembrance of the Tiananmen killings. Reuters reported from Beijing that plainclothes police officers were in the square Sunday, prepared to detain anyone who might try to gather.

Democracy is an enduring issue in Hong Kong, but the biggest protests have occurred when residents have feared that existing liberties were being undermined. A half-million people participated in a march on July 1, 2003, to denounce government plans to impose stringent internal security laws at Beijing’s request and to criticize the government’s handling of the economy and an outbreak that spring of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

The government withdrew its internal security plan two months later, and the economy rebounded, resulting in a sharp drop in public participation in democracy protests. Pro-democracy lawmakers voted down in December a proposal by the chief executive, Donald Tsang, to expand the Legislature here to 70 seats from 60, contending that the plan lacked a timetable for full democracy.

They have been deeply frustrated that democracy issues have faded since then. « Things are hopelessly and worryingly quiet, » Martin Lee, the founding chairman of the Democratic Party, said by telephone last month.

An annual survey of attitudes in Hong Kong toward the student protests in Beijing in 1989 and the government’s suppression of them found that public support for the students remained strong here, although many also believed that the Chinese government’s human rights record has improved since then.

The Hong Kong University poll found that 53 percent believed that the students « did the right thing » and that 63 percent believed the government « did the wrong thing. »

The poll also found broad support here for continued activism by Hong Kong people in mainland affairs, with 76 percent believing that « Hong Kong people had a responsibility to instigate the development of democracy in China, » and 83 percent believing that, « Hong Kong people had a responsibility to instigate the economic development in China. »

The survey of 1,022 people, conducted from May 18 to May 25 and released on Thursday, provided results that should be within plus or minus 3 percent of the overall public’s opinion 95 percent of the time.

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