Catholic World News

Cardinal Zen: Tiananmen Square victims are martyrs

June 01, 2009

At a May 29 Mass, Salesian Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, the retired Bishop of Hong Kong (Xianggang), described the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre as “martyrs.”

“Exiles of the event cannot go back home,” he said; “mothers of the victims cannot pay their respects to their deceased sons and daughters publicly; no one knows how many people were imprisoned due to the event.”

Speaking later at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents' Club, the cardinal said that China still exerts tight control on the Catholic Church of the mainland. He cited the harassment of "underground" bishops and priests, and reports that the state-controlled Patriotic Association had put heavy pressure on bishops to attend the ordination of other bishops appointed without Vatican approval-- and sometimes offered heavy bribes to those prelates who agreed to participate in the illicit ordinations. In a separate interview with the AsiaNews service, Cardinal Zen said that the late Deng Xiaoping, China's leader at the time, should be openly criticized for approving the massacre. “It is truly sad that 20 years have passed [since the Tiananmen massacre] and the tragedy still hasn’t been recognised by the government as an error and a crime," he said.


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