Society must try its best to listen to young people in order to bring peace and harmony, the head of Hong Kong’s Catholic Church said on Thursday.

“When our young people are feeling hopeless, there will be no future for our society. As grownups, we are obliged to listen when our young people are voicing out their thoughts, even if we do not always understand these thoughts,” Cardinal John Tong said in his annual Christmas message.

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He ended the message by adding that “everyone is so tired” as the city has experienced “various conflicts and pain” over the past year.

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John Tong and Paul Kwong.

Tong is to be succeeded by bishop Michael Yeung, who slammed Hong Kong independence as absolutely impossible and unfeasible, and expressed regret over Beijing’s recent interpretation of the Basic Law.

Breakdown of social values 

Meanwhile, Archbishop Paul Kwong of the Anglican Church said the city’s independence movements and LegCo oath-taking row divided Hong Kong.

“On the surface, they seem to be about divergent political references, but if we look more deeply, all of these events are really about the breakdown of social values and the distortion of human relations,” he said.

The High Court disqualified Youngspiration’s politicians Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung Chung-hang from the legislature in November owing to their controversial oath-taking conduct. Four pro-democracy lawmakers are now facing judicial reviews lodged by the government over their oaths of allegiance.

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Kwong went on to say that “destructive forces” and the “negative energy of humankind” caused polarisation, and would reduce political views to either pro-democratic or pro-establishment.

“People are becoming increasingly anxious about our situation, and so it is no wonder that a senior government official recently said that people are worried, concerned, disheartened and discouraged about Hong Kong,” he added, referring to Chief Secretary Carrie Lam who is tipped to be a potential candidate of the upcoming Chief Executive election in March.

Last year, Kwong said in his Christmas message that the pro-democracy Occupy protests fragmented the city as violence became more frequent. He has made controversial remarks in the past, such as saying that some protesters at the July 1 pro-democracy march joined out of a herd mentality. He has also asked why arrested demonstrators “didn’t bring their Filipino maids to the march,” Apple Daily reported.

koel chu

Koel Chu

Koel Chu is a second-year journalism and fine arts student at the University of Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Koel is interested in the arts and urban design. She interned at China Radio International in Beijing and, at her university, she also works as Vice-President of Branding and Marketing in AIESEC, the largest youth-run organisation in the world.