• Wed
  • Oct 1, 2014
  • Updated: 7:37am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 July, 2014, 4:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 July, 2014, 3:48pm

Hong Kong's Cardinal Zen and the art of anti-communism

A fanatic has been described as one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

An ideologue is someone who is ever alert to his enemy's atrocities but never his own camp's.

Our very own Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun is both a fanatic and an ideologue. Everything traces back to his anti-communism, including his fight for democracy in Hong Kong and his fervent wish to see China's government collapse.

The new pope has worked to improve relations with Beijing. Now there is talk of a visit. And before you even say Francis, our good cardinal has jumped into the fray to try to sabotage the diplomatic outreach. "Don't come," he said. "You would be manipulated."

Given the kind of bankers, diplomats and mafia dons the Vatican has at its service, this spiritual state is well versed in the ways of the world. So don't you worry your pretty old head about the boss being taken advantage of?

Zen said the faithful in China were persecuted and Beijing continued to appoint its own illegitimate bishops. All true. But could it be that antagonism with the Vatican was a factor in this? What's wrong with seeking improved diplomatic relations with Beijing? The Vatican, after all, is by international convention a state. So why not? Well, it's Zen's all-embracing anti-communism again. But nary a word from Zen against the Vatican's dirty internal politics and corruption or its tolerance of thousands of paedophile priests over decades and across continents.

The shallowness of Zen's democratic commitment can be seen by his "not in my backyard" attitude towards local school reform. For more than a decade, the cardinal has been the single greatest obstacle to introducing accountability and better governance in Catholic schools.

The government may have won in the top court but he has succeeded in stalling the implementation of basic school-based management requirements in Catholic schools. And the Education Bureau is too clobbered to enforce them. Why this staunch opposition? Because Zen thinks the government would slip in communist propaganda if the church couldn't keep dogmatic control. It's that anti-communism again.


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Mr. Lo,
Good news for you. In his typical hateful way, Cardinal Zen has rebutted you with the gutter language of a street fighter: 英文報紙的「門前惡犬」在向我狂吠. //****oldyosef.hkdavc.com/
Coming from a holy man, you can wear this as a badge of honor.
For those in his flock who haven’t yet been brainwashed, they may detect how he hijacked and twisted a Jesus quote: “Except ye …. become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child…” (Mark Chapter 18).
Obviously, what Christ meant is the untarnished innocence of children. What Cardinal Zen has in mind is an army of brainwashed Red Guards – Scholarism kids and Federation of Students – as fodder for his ideological war against China.
Aren’t we all aware that Christ has taught us to render unto to Caesar for what's Caesar’s due? That brings to focus the subservience of this holy man of the cloth to Lai Chee Ying, who under one country two systems protection of speech freedom has been disseminating relentlessly malicious news stories about China.
Maybe SCMP investigative reporters should look into what Cardinal Zen did with Lai’s tens of millions dollars in a personal account. If not for personal consumption, are these funds earmarked for subversion in the mainland?
By fingering you, Mr. Lo, the Cardinal hopes his faithful will take their eyes off him – the real Doberman or pit bull fed by James Lai.
"Hong Kong could regress to the living standards of the 70s if our people insist on defying China "
---wow, easy with the fear-mongering there, cowboy. Is this one of those "sky will fall" scenarios you folks like to bandy about, where the only path to salvation is to pledge eternal allegiance to the CCP your lord?
And still, you conflate China with the CCP. Some teachings are really too ingrained to change, I suppose.
The CCP's existence had a 3 decades correlation to growth in China, but that is as compelling of an argument for causation as its earlier correlation with 3 decades in the dirt for China. A better correlation to China's growth would be it's assumption of a market economy. You don't need the CCP for that. And you know, since it's in the past, if you want to "believe" that the CCP was vital to get China to its 2014 state, that's fine. But it takes incredible piety and depth of faith to "believe" that the CCP remains essential moving forward.
And it's a further leap of faith still to suggest that HK needs the CCP. It's gotten to this point without it, and there is not even a feeble correlative association between HK and CCP influence. To simply expect that CCP governance is essential for HK moving forward bespeaks faith of a saintly magnitude. Perhaps we should start the beatification process for some of the stooges on this board.
China-hate HKers assume many guises and avatars of Democracy. In sum, their problem is denial.
As for China lifting a few hundred millions out of poverty, here are the typical putdowns by SCMP readers. China could have done much better with Democracy or led by some other leaders. They totally ignore that poverty is a stubborn thing with its most probable cause in anarchy and failed governments. Just look at Haiti, Africa, India, Pakistan and other parts of the world.
Get real China bashers! However one cuts it, growing double digits for 3 decades for 1.3 billion is a statistical outlier.
But inevitably, China must slow down. What are the economic realities that might intrude? Economic convergence in neoclassical growth model, demographics, excessive savings resulting in misallocation of capital as well as other growing pains.
Economic slowdowns have natural causes. No tree grows to the sky. CCP leaders must continuously restructure economically and politically, most importantly, to manage the expectations of their people. That means fixing it when it ain't broke.
White men's meat is yellow people's poison. For a rich nation with only ten million people, let them wallow in feel good ideology, but it's not affordable for 1.3 billion just at middle class threshold.
Hong Kong could regress to the living standards of the 70s if our people insist on defying China -- an obvious modus operandi preferred by expats and bananas. Yes, that's a gw*eilo choice for us.
Zen has a vendetta against the old communists and takes it out on the new communists. China is far from being perfect, but it is trying its best to make things right. If there were an award to countries who improve standards of living and remove poverty, China should have its trophy case full for the past two decades. Once living standards are achieved, morality and dignity will follow - from the people and by the people. The Chinese government and CCP, as most people here don't want to admit, are run by people.
Though the Chinese government has evolved since Mao, it remains a communist oligarchy. Its need to strictly control all facets of the military, economy, law, births, politics and religion to remain in power. One would think that anyone in Hong Kong recognizes that Beijing has no problem lying when it feels it’s best – what human rights covenants has it signed and not kept, what was the handover deal from Great Britain?
While you readily admit that underground Catholics are persecuted and Illegitimate bishops are appointed, I’m surprised at the suggestion of antagonism by the Vatican. You obviously haven’t paid attention in recent years the various cardinals from around the world visiting Patriotic churches and personages, the numbers of clergy and religious being educated in Maryknoll facilities and the Jesuits overlooking and assisting these government types. Beijing is used to getting its way lately, as it spreads money around the world, and it must be irritating to know that it can’t always have its way. Since Pope Pius XII, who told the communist government in no uncertain terms, that the Catholic Church will stand its ground - it must continue to do so. If not, all those who refused to give in and were martyred for the Faith will have died for naught.
There are very few Catholic Church leaders that are so well respected and listened to among the Catholic laity - Cardinal Zen is certainly one of them. Hong Kong should be proud.
Daniel Lee
Hong Kong's Cardinal Zen should concern himself more about the sex abuse going on in the Catholic Church. Also he should stop being so hateful of things he doesn't understand.
I gotta have to agree that the The Catholic Church is just as bad as the CCP, and I am not particularly fond of them being involved in political movements.
Educated by Brothers of the Christian Schools at SJC, I have nothing but gratitude for their dedication and immense patience in teaching. Whereas they are shining examples of Catholicism that reminds us the humility in learning and the banishment of hate, Cardinal Zen stands out as the antithesis of every Catholic virtue, an intransigent foe of reason and an incorrigible political charlatan.
I mock the essential intolerance, ideology and superstitions that come bundled with Christian fundamentalism, but I have no problem with Abrahamic faith practiced among family and friends while still maintaining enough latitude to assess objectively roles played by religions through history.
However packaged, Communism and Democracy are religions. But that doesn't give Zen the right to demonize and ostracize other Chinese wearing Marxist labels. Marxism-Leninism -- whatever that means to some -- is fair game because of its dogmas and rigid doctrines, but it is nowhere as destructive as unadulterated hatred advocated by the Cardinal and dark passions expressed without reservation by some readers in Mr. Lo's columns here and elsewhere.




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