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Archbishop defends Hong Kong security law

Archbishop defends Hong Kong security law

In a letter to Church Times published July 9th, the Archbishop of Hong Kong, the Most Rev. Paul Kwong, expressed support for the new security law (paywall). Kwong is chair of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, the most representative body in the Anglican Communion. The law cracks down on political dissent against China with harsh penalties for vaguely defined behavior.

Kwong’s position places him in opposition to the stance of Catholic bishops in East Asia.

The Church Times reports Kwong’s support for the new law has been widely condemned.

International criticism of the new law was not, [Kwong] said, an expression of “Christian sentiment but of anti-China sentiment”, and he was proud to be living in China. “Many critics do not accept the fact that we are part of China. They only emphasise two systems, not one country. I cherish our Hong Kong freedoms — in particular, the freedom of religion and way of life — as much as anyone, and I don’t think this law will change any of that. I am also proud to be living in China.

The organisation Human Rights Watch accused Archbishop Kwong of spreading the “propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party”, and said that the new law did threaten religious freedoms. “The Archbishop’s views are striking in that they misrepresent the nature of the Hong Kong protests, and closely align with the propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party.

Hong Kong residents have written to the Church Times to protest at Archbishop Kwong’s support for the new law. One accused him of “betraying your God”, and another said that Dr Kwong’s stance was “staggeringly unchristian”.

An internet search produced no evidence that any other part of the Anglican Communion has taken a position on the new security law. Results all pointed to Kwong’s position.

Kwong was awarded the Dean’s Cross for Servant Leadership in Church and Society by Virginia Theological Seminary in 2016.

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