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Freedom of Religion Is ‘Deteriorating’ in Hong Kong, New Report Says…

There is an increase in the number of “pro-Beijing teachers and principals” in religious schools, the report said. Those schools have “sister schools” in mainland China, which has led to “more engagements with external pro-Beijing organizations on campus.”

The report said that Hong Kong’s Catholic Church is “suppressing” information on religious persecution in the mainland and has “diluted its focus on advocating the rights of the faithful in China.”

The report mentioned the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong’s removal of a 2021 interview it posted on its Facebook page of a priest, Father Vincent Woo, telling EWTN that the CCP is using “reeducation” and propaganda to suppress religious freedom in the mainland.

The page administrator resigned after the removal and no other diocesan-run paper publicized the interview, according to the report. 

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The report also pointed to Hong Kong’s National Security Law imposed by the CCP in 2020, which gives broad power to both governments to crack down on what would be considered First Amendment freedoms in America.

The report said the National Security Law was used in 2022 to arrest and imprison Protestant pastor Gary Pang Moon-yuen, who “allegedly” interrupted the trial of Chow Hang-tung, a protester who commemorated the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

The Tiananmen crackdown was the government’s violent suppression of protests in 1989 of peaceful protests calling for political and economic reform. 

The pastor, Moon-yuen, was sentenced to 13 months in prison for sedition and seditious speech on Oct. 30, 2022, the report said. 

The report calls on the U.S., “together with other democracies,” to act. 

It calls on U.S. lawmakers to support two bills, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, to deter religious freedom violators in the region. Those bills would require the State Department to periodically review the state of human rights in Hong Kong to determine whether it is truly separate from China. The proposed legislation would also place sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who violate the region’s autonomy. 

The democracies should hold hearings on the CCP’s religious freedom violations in Hong Kong and abroad, the report said. They should also “[d]iscourage the Vatican from extending to Hong Kong the secret deal made with Beijing.” The controversial deal made in 2018 is a confidential agreement between China and Rome on the appointment of bishops. 

(Story continues below)

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The full report can be read here.

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