Poor government is to blame for the social divisions and distrust splitting the city, Anglican Archbishop Paul Kwong has said in an outspoken Christmas message.
"For most of the past year, Hong Kong society has left people feeling disgusted. All levels of society have been mired in mutual distrust and disrespect: citizens and government; poor and wealthy; locals and new immigrants; legislative and administrative organs," Kwong said in his address, released in Chinese yesterday.
At the root of these problems, Kwong said, was the "improper governance by the SAR government". Sensationalist politicians and media, he said, also played a part with their endless quarrels.
The end result will be a divided society and the loss of human dignity. "It should be understood that Hong Kong cannot pay the price of being torn apart by malicious conflicts. Everyone wants to live in a Hong Kong where there is mutual trust, respect, help and love," he said.
Citing the Connecticut shooting in the United States a week ago, Kwong said: "If our thinking remains in terms of 'right or wrong' and 'black or white', without concession or compromise, we are far from truly understanding human nature, and will only push society towards the periphery of inhumanity."
The Catholic Bishop of Hong Kong Cardinal John Tong Hon used his Christmas message to say that marriage must be between a man and a woman. "We wish to reaffirm that marriage is a mutual self-giving and lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, whereby they form a family and enrich themselves," he said.
Tong's remarks followed a year of growing gay rights movements which saw some big names coming out of the closet, including singers Anthony Wong Yiu-ming and Denise Ho Wan-si.