Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hong Kong Protesters Know Negotiations Will Fail: “In the end everything is decided by the Chinese government.”

October 21, 2014

By Matt Sheehan
Huffington Post

HONG KONG — Leaders of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Occupy protests are scheduled to begin long-awaited negotiations with representatives of the city government on Tuesday. But with the talks still hours away, protesters and anti-Occupy residents alike are pretty sure they know what’s going to happen.

“No results,” predicted Stanley Chan, an elderly demonstrator at the hotly contested Mong Kok protest site. “We know that there’s no room for negotiation with the Hong Kong government, no space to go further.”

Discussions between the government and representatives from the Hong Kong Federation of Students are set to be broadcast live Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Hong Kong. But many of Chan’s fellow protesters, as well as the fiercest critics of the demonstrators themselves, agree that the true power rests with the one party absent from talks: the Chinese central government.

Without China’s participation, those in Hong Kong are all but certain, Tuesday’s negotiations will go nowhere.

“In the end everything is decided by the Chinese government,” said Eric Wong, a 44-year-old IT systems manager attending the protests. “[The Hong Kong government] just sits in the middle, and I don’t think the Chinese government will compromise.”

hong kong negotiations

Participants in Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement have occupied the areas surrounding the city government headquarters for three weeks, but few expect anything major to come of Tuesday’s negotiations.

 

The current round of protests was set in motion when China’s National People’s Congress announced that candidates for Hong Kong’s 2017 chief executive elections would have to be approved by a Beijing-controlled committee. Since then, protesters have seized several key streets in Hong Kong and demanded the ouster of Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung — but many protesters say the tug-of-war over occupied intersections is in some sense a performance enacted for an audience 1,200 miles to the north, in Beijing.

“I want the Chinese government to know that Hong Kong people want to have universal suffrage, real universal suffrage,” Joe Chu, a supporter of the protests, told The WorldPost.

The well-documented occupation has given the Umbrella Movement a large megaphone, and several protesters told The WorldPost that Tuesday’s televised negotiations represent the best chance for student leaders to make their case to fellow Hong Kongers. But when asked about the possibility of concrete advances, Chu was blunt: “I have no hope.”

hong kong federation of students

Demonstrators have called for Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung’s resignation, but most believe that the true power lies with Beijing.

 

That sense of pessimism has angered some Hong Kong residents who have seen their daily lives and business patterns disrupted by blocked streets and sporadic clashes. Several onlookers in the Mong Kok neighborhood, many of whom say they were initially sympathetic to the protests, now declare that any political statements have already been made, and it’s time to clear the roads. Others simply dismiss the protesters’ cause outright, citing the intractability of the issue.

“These people are being so stupid!” said Frank Hui, a businessman who engaged Mong Kok protesters in a heated exchange Monday night. “Doing this and blocking that, and they still don’t see what the result is going to be. Do you think anything is going to come of it? Absolutely not.”

frank hui

Occupy opponent Frank Hui argues with a group of pro-democracy demonstrators in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. Matt Sheehan/Huffington Post

 

While many protesters agreed that Beijing probably won’t budge on the 2017 elections, they said they have hope that Hong Kong and its people are experiencing a transformation nonetheless.

“In this movement, what results have we achieved? Many citizens expressed their ideas and they all think we have achieved an awakening,” said Benny Tai, one of the leaders of Occupy Central With Peace and Love, at a rally Monday night. “This social awakening is already our fruit before we have reached genuine universal suffrage.”

Jill Mao contributed reporting from Hong Kong.

Related:

 

 (Includes links to 2 weeks of previous Hong Kong coverage)

South China Sea: From reef to biggest island in Spratlys, and China’s not done yet at Fiery Cross

October 21, 2014

South China Morning Post

By Kristine Kwok
kristine.kwok@scmp.com

China has turned a strategically important reef into probably the biggest island in the Spratlys, Chinese scholars say, and the expansion is expected to continue.

Analysts said the continued expansion of Fiery Cross Reef, which China calls Yongshu Reef, is expected eventually to provide a vital outpost for Chinese military and civilian commercial activities in disputed areas of the South China Sea, many of which are closer to other claimants’ coasts than to China’s.

Claimant states such as the Philippines and Vietnam have protested against China’s reclamation activities in the South China Sea.

Beijing has yet to openly admit its plans to artificially expand reefs in the sea into islands.

Last week, Taiwan’s top intelligence official, Lee Hsiang-chou, said publicly that Beijing was conducting seven construction projects in the South China Sea, with five of them reportedly having been approved since Xi Jinping became president.

The expansion of Fiery Cross Reef proceeded faster than scheduled and it was likely to have outgrown Taiping Island – the biggest in the Spratlys chain – said Jin Canrong , a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing.

Controlled by Taiwan, Taiping, also known as Ita Aba, is the only one of the islands with fresh water. It has an area of about 0.5 sq km.

Wang Hanling, an expert on the South China Sea from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Fiery Cross Reef now nearly covered about 1 sq km and reclamation work would probably continue.

Both scholars said it was unclear how big the island would eventually become but it would probably house both military and civilian facilities.

Fiery Cross Reef is about 740 nautical miles south of the Chinese mainland, but closer to the Vietnamese coast.

It was vulnerable to ballistic missile attack from Vietnam should conflict break out, said Carl Thayer, professor emeritus at the University of New South Wales and a member of the Australian Defence Force Academy.

He said there was no strong evidence yet to suggest China was planning to turn the artificial island into a naval base. But the islet could be turned into an outpost providing supplies and shelter for those engaged in commercial activities in the South China Sea, hence bolstering China’s civilian presence in the area, Thayer said.

“It can make the life of people sitting on oil rigs that China deploys easier. Fishing vessels can also call in as they don’t have to go all the way back to Hainan ,” he said.

Analysts have said that by expanding islets, China has sought to bolster its presence in the South China Sea, which it claims almost in its entirety.

Over the weekend, Chinese website Guancha.cn published a report saying Fiery Cross Reef had been upgraded to an island. It cited unnamed sources and satellite images from DigitalGlobe taken between late September and October 16. It said it was now bigger than Taiping.

Jin from Renmin University said it was unlikely the reef would be renamed an island, since it “would involve international law and would be too complicated”.

 

Hong Kong Chief Executive: Democracy Would Give Poor People The Vote

October 21, 2014

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s latest comments are likely to further fuel the anger of protesters who see him as hapless, out of touch and pandering to the whims of a small number of tycoons who dominate the financial hub.

HONG KONG: The city’s Beijing-backed leader Leung Chun-ying told media that if the government met pro-democracy protesters’ demands it would result in the city’s poorer people dominating elections. In an interview with foreign media, carried in the Wall Street Journal and International New York Times, the embattled chief executive reiterated his position that free elections were impossible.

Demonstrators have paralysed parts of Hong Kong with mass rallies and road blockades for more than three weeks, in one of the biggest challenges to Beijing’s authority since the Tiananmen pro-democracy protests of 1989.

Leung’s comments were published just hours before talks between senior government officials and student leaders to end the impasse are scheduled to take place later on Tuesday (Oct 21).

China has offered Hong Kong residents the chance to vote for their next leader in 2017. But only those vetted by a committee expected to be loyal to Beijing will be allowed to stand – something protesters have labelled as “fake democracy”.

Leung said that if candidates were nominated by the public then the largest sector of society would likely dominate the electoral process. “If it’s entirely a numbers game and numeric representation, then obviously you’d be talking to the half of the people in Hong Kong who earn less than US$1,800 a month,” Leung said in comments published by the WSJ and INYT.

Semi-autonomous Hong Kong has one of the biggest income divides in the world, with growing discontent at increased inequality and exorbitant property prices fuelling the protests which turned increasingly violent at the end of last week. There are fears any further clashes between police and protesters could derail Tuesday’s discussions.

Leung’s latest comments are likely to further fuel the anger of protesters who see him as hapless, out of touch and pandering to the whims of a small number of tycoons who dominate the financial hub.

His quotes also echo that of Wang Zhenmin, a well-connected scholar and regular advisor to Beijing. Wang said recently that greater democratic freedom in the semi-autonomous city must be balanced against the city’s powerful business elite who would have to share their “slice of the pie” with voters. “The business community is in reality a very small group of elites in Hong Kong who control the destiny of the economy in Hong Kong. If we ignore their interests, Hong Kong capitalism will stop (working),” he said in August.

Leung played down expectations ahead of the long-delayed talks with student leaders that will be broadcast live. “We are not quite sure what they will say at the session,” he said.

 

 (Includes links to 2 weeks of previous Hong Kong coverage)

 

China Tries to Hold On to Judges by Offering Freer Hand

October 20, 2014

With Judges Quitting in Droves, Party Plenum to Focus on Tweaking Legal System

By Josh Chin

Josh Chin

The Wall Street Journal

 

BEIJING—When a senior judge in south China decided to step down at the end of the National Day holiday, he took the rare step of posting a resignation letter online.

“I don’t know when I started to feel less and less able to handle cases,” the judge, Liu Shibi, a 20-year court veteran, wrote on the social-media site Weibo this month.

“So much time wasted on political study, the transmission of new attitudes, reflecting on important speeches, evaluating statistics and the rest,” he complained. “Why not waste it on other useless things: daydreaming in the spring sun, howling at the moon, getting drunk with friends in a field of flowers?”

Mr. Liu’s willingness to speak publicly makes him unusual among Chinese judges, but his quitting doesn’t. Judges are leaving in droves, fed up by heavy caseloads, low professional standards, bad pay and government interference, according to former judges, legal scholars and state media reports.

Dealing with the disillusionment in the judiciary is one challenge for President Xi Jinping and other Communist Party leaders going into a policy meeting that opened Monday in Beijing. Top on their agenda, they have said, is promoting the rule of law.

Some of the four-day Central Committee meeting is likely to be taken up with deciding the fate of retired security czar Zhou Yongkang , the highest-level target of Mr. Xi’s popular anticorruption campaign. Beijing has tried to use Mr. Zhou’s case to send a message that no one is above the law.

Legal scholars say it is the first time such a conclave has been devoted to the rule of law. The intent, they say, is to create a more efficient and responsive way to deal with civil and commercial disputes.

Don’t expect a Western-style legal system to emerge, former court officials say; Chinese leaders and party-controlled media have rejected that. The legal scholars say Beijing doesn’t want the party’s authority infringed on in cases where its political interests are at stake.

  

But Chinese society is roiled by proliferating disputes—strikes, protests and other large-scale demonstrations estimated to number more than 100,000 a year. In addition, masses throng central and provincial governments seeking redress for perceived official wrongdoing.

Chinese leaders see the advantage of a legal system publicly viewed as fair enough to credibly resolve the disputes, some legal

“They are very clear on the benefits of rule of law, or at least some strong system of rules, as a way to resolve disputes. They know it is good for the party in the long run,” said Xu Xin, a law professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology. “But it isn’t clear they can do what they need to do.”

Judges play a crucial role in this. Beijing will need to give them enough independence to be convincing enforcers of rules, without feeling they can rule against the party with impunity, Mr. Xu and others said.

The exodus of judges from the bench is both a symptom and a cause of many of the court system’s problems, legal scholars say.

In March, the Liberation Daily newspaper reported that an average of 67 judges had resigned annually from Shanghai courts since 2009, including 74 last year.

The party’s Central Politics and Law Commission reported last year that more 1,600 judges had resigned in Guangdong, a wealthy province abutting Hong Kong, over the previous five years; and 1,850 judges resigned in Jiangsu province from 2008 to 2013. Other jurisdictions, including Beijing, have also reported large numbers of resignations.

As a result, the number of judges in China has remained virtually flat since 2007, while the number of cases handled by the courts rose almost 50% over the period to 12.9 million in 2013, according to the Supreme People’s Court.

 

Mr. Liu, the judge who posted his resignation letter online this month, began his career as a village-level judge in his hometown in Yunnan province, shortly after graduating from college in 1993. In 2001, after circulating through local criminal and administrative courts, he was elected as a representative to the local legislature. Three years later, he was promoted to the provincial court in Guangdong as a criminal judge.

Convincing experienced judges like him to stay is a focus of the party’s proposed legal reforms.

But reached by The Wall Street Journal last weekend, after his resignation had been approved, Mr. Liu said there was little incentive to keep going.

“A judge who works on 100 cases a year earns the same salary as one who works five cases,” he said. In addition, “the more you work, the higher the chances your rulings will be overturned by the higher court.”

Party leaders this week are expected to review and endorse a pilot program, already under way in Shanghai, that grants judges special bureaucratic status distinct from other civil servants, raises their salaries, and gives them more power over trials and decisions, according to a summary published by state media in July.

The program aims to minimize the interference from local officials that judges find so maddening by transferring power over lower-court budgets and personnel up to provincial authorities, according to state media summaries.

Unlike in the U.S., Chinese judges typically come to the courts straight from law school, ascending to the bench after only a couple of years as clerks. They often move on to careers as lawyers later.

That is an improvement from a decade ago, when judges were mainly retired military or police with little or no legal training.

However, the pay for young judges is low, typically in the range of 50,000 to 70,000 yuan ($8,100 to $11,430) a year, former judges say. That makes them subject to pressure from local officials and soft targets for corruption.

“The pressure may not be direct, but you feel it,” Jiang Yangbing, who resigned in June after eight years as a judge in Guangdong. He said interference was particularly common in cases related to land and education.

“For judges, food, clothing, shelter and money all come from the local government, and you have countless ties with them.”

One issue judges and legal scholars fear will not be addressed is the requirement for judges to consider “social stability” when deciding even minor cases.

“You have to satisfy the party, satisfy society, satisfy the people, satisfy the defendant and the plaintiff. It’s incredibly hard to pull off,” said Mr. Jiang.

Mr. Liu gave an example: “Sometimes the party who loses the case threatens to jump from a building, and the judge can be suspended for not being able to settle with them.”

Former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, seen here in 2012, is being investigated for alleged corruption, the party said in August. Reuters

Pervasive interference also contributes to widespread public skepticism about the courts, said Jerome Cohen, a law professor at New York University and one of the first foreign lawyers to practice in China.

“Courts are the weakest branch of government in China,” Mr. Cohen said. Court officials, he said, “are suspected, quite rightly, of behaving like other government officials, rather than being a separate group of holier-than-thou people who are insulated from all the usual influences.”

Insulating judges from some official meddling would represent significant progress for judicial independence while allowing party higher-ups to still keep courts in check, the legal scholars said.

“Most of the time delivering justice doesn’t conflict with the party’s interests,” said Jianwai Fang, a former judge in Zhejiang and now a lawyer in Hong Kong for the firm Davis Polk. “The interests of the [local] official aren’t the interests of the party, and for the party to have the court be the final decision maker is a good thing.”

Older judges, like Mr. Liu, may take more convincing, having seen little lasting impact from previous efforts.

“Endless reform, endless pilot programs, endless bother,” Mr. Liu wrote. “The standardization, professionalization and specialization of judges all still out of reach.”

— Fanfan Wang contributed to this article.

Write to Josh Chin at josh.chin@wsj.com

Prayer and Meditation for Tuesday, October 21, 2014 — For he is our peace, he made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his Flesh

October 20, 2014

Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 474

Reading 1 eph 2:12-22

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Brothers and sisters:
You were at that time without Christ,
alienated from the community of Israel
and strangers to the covenants of promise,
without hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off
have become near by the Blood of Christ.For he is our peace, he made both one
and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his Flesh,
abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims,
that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two,
thus establishing peace,
and might reconcile both with God,
in one Body, through the cross,
putting that enmity to death by it.
He came and preached peace to you who were far off
and peace to those who were near,
for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones
and members of the household of God,
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

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Responsorial Psalm ps 85:9ab-10, 11-12, 13-14

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R. (see 9) The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
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Gospel lk 12:35-38

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Jesus said to his disciples:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.”
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Lectio Divina from the Carmelites
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Reflection

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• By means of the parable the gospel today exhorts us to be vigilant.

• Luke 12, 35: Exhortation to be vigilant, watchful. “Be ready and have your belts done up and your lamps lit”. To gird oneself meant to take a cloth or a cord and put it around the robe. To be girded meant to be ready, prepared for immediate action. Before the flight from Egypt, at the moment of celebrating the Passover, the Israelites had to gird themselves, that is be prepared, ready to be able to leave immediately (EX 12,11). When someone goes to work, to fight or to execute a task he girds himself (Ct 3, 8). In the letter of Paul to the Ephesians he describes the armour of God and he says that your waist must be girded with the waist of truth (Ep 6, 14). The lamps should be lit, because to watch is the task to be carried out during the day as well as during the night. Without light one cannot go in the darkness of the night.

• Luke 12, 36: A parable.    In order to explain what it means to be girded, Jesus tells a brief parable. “Be like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks”. The task of waiting for the arrival of the master demands constant and permanent vigilance, especially during the night, because one does not know at what time the master will return. The employee has to be always attentive and vigilant.

• Luke 12, 37: Promise of happiness. “Blessed those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; In truth I tell you, he will do up his belt, sit them down at table and wait on them”. Here in this promise of happiness, things turn up side down; the master becomes the employee and begins to serve the employee who becomes the master. At the Last Supper Jesus recalls that even though he is Lord and Master, he becomes the servant of all (Jn 13, 4-17).

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The happiness promised has something to do with the future, with happiness at the end of time, and opposed to what Jesus promised in the other parable when he said: “Which of you, with a servant ploughing or minding sheep, would say to him when he returned from the fields, come and have your meal at once? Would he be not more likely to say, ‘Get my supper ready; fasten your belt and wait on me while I eat and drink. You yourself can eat and drink afterwards? Must he be grateful to the servant for doing what he was told? So with you, when you have done all you have been told to do, say, ‘we are useless servants; we have done no more than our duty” (Lk 17, 7-10).

• Luke 12, 38: He repeats the promise of happ8iness. “And if he comes at midnight, or at dawn, and finds those servants ready, blessed are they!” He repeats the promise of happiness which requires total vigilance. The master could return at midnight, at three o’clock in the morning, or at any other moment. The employee must be girded, ready to be able to do his work immediately.

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Personal questions

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• We are employees of God. We should be girded, ready, attentive and vigilant twenty-four hours a day. Do you succeed to do this? How do you do it?

• The promise of future happiness is the opposite of the present. What does this reveal to us of the goodness of God for us, for me?

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Concluding prayer

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I am listening. What is God’s message?

Yahweh’s message is peace for his people.

His saving help is near for those who fear him,

his glory will dwell in our land. (Ps 85,8-9)

http://ocarm.org/en/content/lectio/lectio-divina-luke-1235-38

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Reflection by The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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EUCHARIST BUILDS UP THE CHURCH AS COMMUNION  

SCRIPTURE READINGS: EPH 2:12-22; LK 12:35-38
http://www.universalis.com/20141021/mass.htm

All of us desire unity.  This is the deepest need of every man.  We want unity in interpersonal relationships, in the home, seminary, parish, office, organization, society and the world at large.  Yet we could be quite discouraged, as unity seems to be such an illusive goal and perhaps never realized.  Why is unity unattainable in spite of the fact that all human beings seek unity?

This is because the unity sought by the world is based on compromise and mutual respect.  This tantamounts to saying that you do your thing, I do my thing but please do not interfere in mine.  Such fragile unity is not founded on common vision but a loose unity of individuals who continue to live in their individualistic way.  Thus, such unity is not only superficial but only an apparent unity.

This was exactly the situation in biblical time.  The Jews were separated from the Gentiles because the former considered themselves as the chosen people of God and the latter as lost and people without hope.  We hear this in today’s first reading when St Paul said, “Do not forget that you had no Christ and were excluded from membership of Israel, aliens with no part in the covenants with their Promise; you were immersed in this world, without hope and without God.”  So long as the Jews had a superiority complex and did not see their being the chosen people of God as a privilege, not for themselves alone but rather that they were called to be instruments of salvation for the whole humankind, such status only separated them from the rest of humanity.

It is within this context that the letter of St Paul to the Ephesians presents to us the grandiose vision of God.  All humankind is called to unity in Christ.  He is our peace.  He said, “But now in Christ Jesus, you that used to be so far apart from us have been brought very close, by the blood of Christ.  For he is the peace between us, and had made the two into one and broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart.”   So Christ is our peace in the midst of division.

How did he bring about that peace between the Gentiles and the Jews?  This he did by “actually destroying in his own person the hostility caused by the rules and decrees of the Law.”  Yes, Jesus came to wipe out the laws that separate men from each other.  It was the ritual laws that separated the gentiles from the Jews, even when it came to worshipping in the temple, for the Gentiles stayed in the outer court of the temple, and then the women, the men followed by the priests.  Such demarcation divides the people even when they came to worship the same God.  But most of all, a religion based on laws and its observation make one self-righteous, calculative, proud and presumptuous.  Laws alone cannot bring about unity.  It is love that unites.  It is love that overcomes all boundaries created by men.  Rules and regulations put up fences but love moves it.

There is a story told of some soldiers in France who wanted to bury the body of their dead comrade in a Roman Catholic cemetery but was gently told by the Parish Priest that it was not possible because the cemetery was meant only for baptized Catholics. Disappointed, the soldiers had to bury their comrade outside the fence of the cemetery.  The next day they came back to check that the grave was all right.  But to their astonishment they could not find it.  They were perplexed.  The priest then came out and told them that his heart was troubled the whole night.  So early in the morning, he moved the fence to include the body of the soldier who had died for France.

But there is another lesson we can learn from this story too.  It is not just human love alone that unites.  It is the common love for someone, as in the case for the country. Unity is only possible when we love the same person or have the same goal and vision.  It is our common love of Christ that we could come to love each other.   We can differ in the means of loving but at least with regard to the goal and objective we cannot differ.  It is said of G. K. Chesterton and his brother Cecil, “They always argued; they never quarrelled.”

Truly, Christ brings us into communion with each other. Christ makes us into a new being without destroying our identity.  This unity is achieved by making all men into Christians.  Indeed, Paul said, “This was to create one single New Man in himself out of the two of them and by restoring peace through the cross, to unite them both in a single Body and reconcile them with God.  In his own person he killed the hostility.”

Furthermore, Christ reconciles us to God in Him. He brings us all into communion with God the Father through the Spirit.  As Paul said, “Through him, both of us have in the one Spirit our way to come to the Father.” Unity in Christ therefore transcends all differences because our common love for God empowers us to love each other.   Consequently, our communion with the Father not only brings communion among ourselves but also makes us the Church of Christ, the Church of communion, a communion that is rooted in the love and unity of the Trinity.

Indeed, the Church is called to communion and as the people of God; we are called to be a sign and sacrament of unity and love for the human race.  As St Paul said, “So you are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household.  You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main corner stone.”

How can this be possible?  Unity is maintained when we are united with Jesus. Truly, we must take heed of the words of St Paul, “As every structure is aligned on him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.”  Jesus is our cornerstone.  Unless we have a common love and devotion to the Lord Jesus, we will never be able to live in peace.

Hence, we must make ourselves available to His love.  This is what Jesus tells us in today’s gospel when He said, “See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit.”  This must not be misunderstood that through good works we can secure His love.  Rather, they are means by which we are disposed to His love.  Hence, Jesus said, “Be like men waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks.  Happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes.”

What is this ultimate love that Jesus wants to give us?  It is Himself.  In the gospel, Jesus said, “I tell you solemnly, he will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them.  It may be in the second watch he comes, or in the third, but happy are those servant if he finds them ready.”  However, Jesus not only comes to serve us but to give Himself to us especially in the Eucharist.  For this reason, the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, invited us to cultivate a Eucharistic spirituality so that we can truly be in communion with the Lord and with each other.  Only when we attain real communion with God and with each other, can we then speak of our mission in communion and communion in mission.

- See more at: http://www.csctr.net/21-october-2014-tuesday-29th-week-in-ordinary-time/#sthash.Z3JqPfJC.dpuf

Five Things From The Pope Francis Synod on the Family

October 20, 2014

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Pope Paul VI Beatified at the End of Synod on the Family

Pope Francis leads a mass for the beatification of Paul VI, who died in 1978, and the end of Vatican’s synod on the family at St Peter’s square on October 19, 2014 at the Vatican. Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

By Fr. James Martin, S.J
Huffington Post

This article first appeared in America: The National Catholic Review

What does the final report of the Synod on the Family mean for the church?

Essentially, the “relatio” (or report) published today, at the close of the Synod, will serve as a starting point for future discussion. It was also presented with great transparency, including even sections that did not win the necessary votes for complete approval.

Before we look at five things the synod did, it’s important to understand the unique “form” of this unusual final document. Pope Francis asked to have all of the paragraphs presented in the “final” report, even those that failed to win the majority needed for full passage (a two-thirds majority). Two of those three dealt with LGBT Catholics, and one addressed divorced and remarried Catholics. What’s more, the Pope asked that the voting results be shown alongside all the paragraphs, which were voted on separately. Gerard O’Connell called this a break with 49 years of tradition.

In other words, if the final document was published with only the fully approved texts, those three paragraphs would not appear.

Why might the Pope have chosen to do this?

One the one hand, this could be seen as a smart move by Pope Francis, who by insisting on not only retaining those paragraphs but also showing the vote tallies, ensures two things. First, that those topics–LGBT issues and the reception of Communion for divorce and remarried Catholics–will be discussed at the next session of the Synod. Second, that the church will know that these votes, both of which he himself has addressed, were close. This may give encouragement to those in favor of more openness on these issues to rally support and fight more vigorously next time. (Conversely, it may perhaps strengthen the resolve of those bishops opposed to greater openness.)

Some said that the reason that the three paragraphs on those hot-button issues did not pass was not that the some bishops did not like them, but because they did not go far enough for others. In other words, those three paragraphs were seen as too timid, so some bishops chose not to vote for them. For example, Archbishop Paul-André Durocher, a Canadian bishop, on his blog today writes, “Why did some Bishops choose not to approve a text which only repeated the Church’s received teaching? I have the impression many would have preferred a more open, positive language. Not finding it in this paragraph, they might have chosen to indicate their disapproval of it. However, it has also been published, and the reflection will have to continue.”

Archbishop Durocher believes that the overall tone of the “relatio” was more pastoral than could have been expected. So it represents a win for the church. I agree. Also, finally talking about some things that had been largely taboo–new approaches to gays and lesbians, divorced and remarried Catholics, cohabitation–is another win. (As an aside, a bishop is writing his reflections on his blog the day of the close of the synod should also be seen as something new.)

So what might be the “takeaway” from the Synod?

Here are five things the Synod did:

Dialogue: The synod was an “authentic” synod, as Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn said the other day, in that it included actual dialogue. No one can doubt that. For many years Vaticanologists had speculated that such synods had been overly “managed,” that is, participants knew what they could and could not talk about, what they could and could not vote on, and more or less what the final outcome would be. This was clearly not the case at Synod on the Family. In his opening address to the participants, Pope Francis specifically asked the participants to speak freely, and prayed for the gift of parresia (a Greek term meaning, roughly, “openness”). Dialogue is now a part of the church, at the very highest levels, and this is to the good.

To me, this seems a rather “Jesuit” model of decision-making. Jesuit superiors know, and explicitly say, that the Holy Spirit can work through everyone–both the superior and those men in his care. It is not simply a “top-down” method of governance. So in Jesuit decision-making there is always great deal of discussion and dialogue, which can often continue for a considerable length of time. At times, it’s uncomfortable.

Pope Francis mentioned this kind of discernment explicitly today in his final talk to the Synod, and referred to his Jesuit ideals: “Personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace. Instead, I have seen and I have heard – with joy and appreciation – speeches and interventions full of faith, of pastoral and doctrinal zeal, of wisdom, of frankness and of courage: and of parresia [openness]

Division: There are fairly clear divisions in the church on many of issues related to the family (and sexuality), between what one cardinal termed those who focus on doctrine and those who focus on mercy. Of course one could say that our doctrine is merciful and that mercy is part of our doctrine. But you know what I mean: certain bishops favor a firmer application of laws already in existence (or a clearer explanation of them), and others prefer the “medicine of mercy,” as John XXIII had said at the opening of Vatican II. (I also wrote earlier this week of two different models of welcoming people into the church: The “John the Baptist” model of conversion and then communion, and the “Jesus of Nazareth” model of communion and then conversion. These are complementary, not competing models, but they give rise to disagreement over how the church will best live out its mission.)

These divisions spilled into the public forum, and then those divisions were taken up by various Catholics worldwide. Frankly, I was shocked at how vitriolic things became, particularly on social media. (For my part, I’ve never received more “hate tweets” than in the last two weeks.) At times even prelates moved beyond the usual politesse of the Roman “bella figura” that one associates with Vatican affairs. On the other hand, this is what the Pope invited, and probably expected, when he called for openness.

Transparency: This synod brought us the following: lively daily press briefings with vigorous questioning from reporters, extremely candid comments from many bishops (Remember Cardinal Wilfrid Napier’s terming the interim report as “irredeemable,” and Cardinal Reinhard Marx noting that “obviously” church practice could change), an interim document that was made public, as well published notes from the working groups, and a final document published almost immediately after the voting–with the votes attached.

All this shows the Pope’s desire for transparency. And all this is good. It helps to clear the air of the scent of secrecy that attends many of these gatherings, increases the sense of accountability, and, also shows that the church is less afraid of openness.

LGBT: One of the biggest issues in the media’s coverage was the emergence of LGBT issues at the Synod–which was, in the run-up to the synod, anything but a sure thing. That is, the synod participants could have avoided it. But from the day that a married couple spoke of their experience with another couple they knew who had a gay son, it was on the table. And to my mind, the media’s focus on the change in tone in the interim “relatio,” on these and other topics, released earlier this week, was entirely justified. The first “relatio” included language about gays and lesbians that was new–dramatically new. (“Welcoming,” “gifts and qualities,” mutual support, “precious” “partners,” etc.) In addition, some bishops, like Cardinal Schoenborn, who spoke of an “exemplary” couple he knew, went out of their way to praise gays and lesbians. So it was indeed newsworthy.

The final document (in paragraphs that, again, weren’t fully approved, but will remain topics of discussion) removed those words and, in essence, went back to the Catechism, which asks us to treat gays and lesbians with “respect, sensitivity and compassion.” (Oddly, the “relatio” speaks of “respect and sensitivity,” rispetto e delicatezza, but omits compassion.)

Some will see that as a loss and may be disappointed. It’s easy to understand why: the interim “relatio,” which garnered so much attention earlier in the week, and which moved me deeply, spoke of “Welcoming Homosexual Persons.” Just the word “welcome” was refreshing. (By the middle of the week, the new English translation had “Providing for.”) Now the synod speaks of “Pastoral Care of the Homosexual Person.” That is quite different. (Would you rather be welcomed or cared for?) Moreover, there is no mention of any “gifts or qualities” at all. But again, the topic of LGBT Catholics is now part of the discussion, and by insisting that those paragraphs were retained (even though they were not approved) Pope Francis is keeping them on the table.

Beginning: Lost in some discussions of the Synod was that the last two weeks represented only Part One. After this, the bishops and participants will return to their home dioceses and the worldwide church will reflect on these proceedings until the next session, in October 2015. In the interim, the “World Meeting of Families” will take place in Philadelphia (with Pope Francis most likely attending) with similar topics being raised in talks, articles, homilies and the like. So there will be further reflection.

Next October, the synod will meet again in Rome. (With some different bishops, by the way, for example, Archbishop Cupich, now of Chicago.) And, finally, Pope Francis will issue his “apostolic exhortation” on the Synod, a document which enjoys a high level of teaching authority. Thus, while the synod is an important consultative body and Francis is very much in favor of “synodality,” his is the final word on all these issues.

At times, when I was getting too involved in the daily press conferences, I reminded myself that, while these discussions are important and show the temperature of the church on certain issues, the apostolic exhortation will be the most important document. When I read the documents of the Second Vatican Council, for example, I’m not that concerned about what Cardinals Ottaviani and Bea thought at the time, as much as I am with the final product. I’m more interested in “Lumen Gentium” and “Gaudium et Spes” than one cardinal’s particular “intervention” during one session of the Council.

All in all, the last two weeks have proven a very Jesuit “way of proceeding,” as St. Ignatius Loyola would say. It’s what we call “discernment,” which includes prayer, as well as much discussion, some division and even some debates.

But in the end one person makes the decisions, and in this case it’s the Pope. At one point during his concluding speech to the bishops he said, playfully, “I am here and I’m the pope!”

Or as we say in the Jesuits, when it comes to the superior it’s: “You discern, we discern, but I decide.”

The sleepy island Indonesia is guarding from China

October 20, 2014

From the BBC

Picture of Natuna fishermen
Most of the people living on Natuna are fishermen and farmers

Dawn breaks gently on Natuna Island.

A few lonely fishing boats head out into the ocean, and another group of men hammer away at an old wooden boat, in the hopes of taking it back out to sea. It’s just another regular day on quiet, peaceful Natuna.

Boy has been a fisherman here all his life – it’s in his blood.

It’s a calm, routine existence: one day no different from the next. But beneath the surface, there’s a storm brewing.

“I’ve noticed in the last few years that there’s been an increase in the military presence here,” Boy tells me as we bump along the rocky ocean in his rickety boat.

“We’ve seen more soldiers on the island. I think they’re here because our island lies on the border. There may be threats from countries like China and others.”

Rich waters

Back on dry land, and overlooking the vast expanse of the South China Sea, it’s hard to imagine how this tiny backwater of a place could become a flashpoint in any conflict.

There are fewer than 100,000 people on Natuna, most of them fisherman and farmers.

Life moves very slowly here – but what’s at stake is what’s in the waters off the coast of Natuna: billions of dollars of fish and natural gas reserves that Indonesia says it owns.

And the Indonesian army is taking no chances. It is increasing its forces on the island – deploying US-bought Apache helicopters and sending another battalion here in 2015.

Picture of Bambang Hendratno
Bambang Hendratno is part of the security forces Indonesia is building up on Natuna

“Natuna is the furthermost island in Indonesia, and it’s on our border in the South China Sea,” said Bambang Hendratno, a senior military official in Natuna.

“We need to add more forces here. We shouldn’t wait till something happens before we add more men. We’ve seen Malaysia and China already get into scuffles over competing claims. Before something happens we should act – rather than after something happens.”

The South China Sea is a contested waterway – China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam all lay claim to it.

Indonesia says it has no territorial interests in these waters – but look closely at the map, and it’s a different story.

“Natuna Island is located up north in the South China Sea and the potential conflict zone where China’s nine-dash line and Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone off the coast of Natuna overlap,” Iis Gindarsah, a defence researcher at the Centre of Strategic Studies in Jakarta tells me.

Map

“If the maritime boundaries aren’t clarified, then the potential of further escalation of conflict is there.”

“There have been some of cases where China has tried to come into Vietnam’s maritime boundaries and the same situation could happen here in the future.”

The nine-dash line marks out China’s island claims in the South China Sea.

Stability and prosperity

But Indonesia’s government insists that Indonesia and China won’t clash over the South China Sea, and that the two nations will solve this problem diplomatically.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa delivers a statement in Jakarta on 18 November 2013
Mr Natalegawa says Indonesia and China are able to solve the problem diplomatically

“There may not be an actual overt intention to be aggressive,” Marty Natalegawa, the Indonesian foreign minister told me.

“Or to take over land in a classic sense – but what may happen is miscalculation. Then you have action and re-armament. What was initially an arms build-up becomes an arms race.”

“We don’t have to follow that script – we have all prospered because we have had stability.”

Back on Natuna, it’s obvious how much that stability is prized among the local population.

This island is a picturesque, idyllic place – but it stands on the frontline of a potential clash between Indonesia and China.

Although the possibility may seem remote at the moment, Indonesia has to balance its interests delicately while making sure it keeps its borders safe.

More

Hong Kong: Protesters defiant after High Court orders them to leave Mong Kok and Admiralty sites

October 20, 2014

Protesters not ready to obey High Court order to get out of Mong Kok or Admiralty

“Cops told us we could choose not to receive the injunction.”

South China Morning Post

Joshua Wong speaks to the crowd near Tamar Park after the High Court issued an injunction ordering protesters to clear parts of Mong Kok and Admiralty. Photo: Sam Tsang

Hong Kong’s High Court has ordered pro-democracy protesters in Mong Kok to leave the area immediately, granting injunctions in two cases against the demonstrators.

The two injunctions were granted at about 6.45pm to representatives of the Taxi Association and the Taxi Drivers and Operators Association in one case, and to representatives of the Chiu Luen Public Light Bus Company in another. The orders are effective immediately.

Mr Justice Jeremy Poon Shiu-chor, of the Court of First Instance, accepted the arguments of lawyers acting for the plaintiffs that the occupations in Mong Kok have continued for a long time and had caused public nuisance and “inconvenience”.

The judge also said that there had been violence at the protest sites, adding that prolonged occupation could lead to more violence between police and protesters.

The orders are imposed on “persons occupying portions of Nathan Road” but do not identify any individuals.

Hundreds of protesters remain on the streets of Mong Kok despite an initial protest camp and road blockades being cleared by police on Friday. Police have accused the demonstrators of instigating violence and charging police cordons, while the demonstrators have said that police have used excessive force and had themselves instigated chaos by charging stationary protesters.

Police watch over the protest site in Mong Kok. A high court judge has ordered demonstrators there to leave immediately. Photo: Edward Wong

The protesters taking part in the occupation in Mong Kok, while associated with a wide variety of causes, have been united in their calls for the resignation of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and for the central government in Beijing to allow an open election of the next chief executive.

Beijing, through an August ruling of the national legislature, has said that the city’s next leader can be elected by universal suffrage – but the shortlist of candidates must be approved by a 1,200-strong committee likely to be stacked with staunch supporters of the central government.

In the first case, the plaintiffs asked the court to order people occupying “portions of Nathan Road near to and between Argyle Street and Dundas Street” to leave. In the second case, the injunction is against those occupying the “westbound carriageway of Argyle Street between the junction of Tung Choi Street and Portland Street”.

The injunctions will be announced to protesters at the specified locations in Mong Kok and will also be published in one Chinese-language and one English-language newspaper.

Protesters at the Admiralty site. Photo: Sam Tsang

At about 8.15pm, the High Court also issued an injunction against protesters in Admiralty, ordering them to clear fire exits, emergency vehicle exits and the entrance to the car park of Citic Tower, at the junction of Tim Mei Avenue and Lung Wui Road, adjacent to the government headquarters.

The applicant for the injunction, Golden Investment Limited, said the protests are “severely affecting the operations of commercial and retail business within the property”, and putting tenants at risk.

At the Mong Kok protest site, People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip told demonstrators that he was talking to legal experts about ways to fight the court’s decision.

“We have spoken to some barristers and solicitors and they said there is room for appeals,” he said.

He also warned protesters of the raised stakes should they choose to remain. Contempt of court, he pointed out, could lead to a custodial sentence.

Scholarism convenor Joshua Wong Chi-fung said that he believed every Occupy protester respected the rule of law.

“Police have always wanted to clear [the sites] with or without the injunctions,” Wong told the Post.

“The decision is an individual one whether to leave or not,” he said. “I was still in police detention when [the protests] started.”

However, he reiterated that anyone who joins the protests in Mong Kok should consider whether they are prepared to bear the legal consequences.

Wong advised underaged participants to stay at the back and help man supply booths, so they would not get injured if there is any violence.

Scholarism so far has no plan to call for protesters to turn themselves in en masse, he added.

Demonstrators work at the study area near the main Admiralty protest site. Photo: Sam Tsang

Protesters in Mong Kok were defiant. Sit in participant Larry Choi, 28, said “the injunction will not scare me away, I will wait and see the result of the meeting [between government and student groups] to decide my next plan.”

If the talks come to nothing, Choi said, he will “keep joining this assembly”, which has “always been illegal anyway”.

Other protesters said the injunctions would make no difference.

“We will continue the sit-in peacefully and rationally,” said Fun Li, adding that she would cooperate with other police instructions, provided they were reasonable.

She blamed the government for failing to take the initiative to solve the stand-off with protesters, forcing third parties to seek injunctions.

“Given the zone the government has set aside for us, it could have made better arrangements for traffic in the area,” Li said.

27-year-old Eddie Tse said that “cops told us we could choose not to receive the injunction,” referring to previous police advice to anti-Occupy protesters who barricaded the headquarters of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, who were also ordered to leave by the court.

Tse said he had been neutral about the Occupy movement until he and a friend were batoned by police days ago when they were passing through Mong Kok.

Thomas To, a 38-year-old who quit his job in order to join the sit-in, said the injunction applicants were acting in concert with the authorities.

“The government has been trying to depict us as rioters and lay the blame on several parties over the past weeks,” To said.

Reporting by Joyce Ng, Thomas Chan, Chris Lau, Samuel Chan, Danny Mok

Related:

 

 (Includes links to 2 weeks of previous Hong Kong coverage)

Joko Widodo sworn in as Indonesian president

October 20, 2014

From the BBC

Indonesian President Joko Widodo gestures to the crowd during a street parade following his inauguration in Jakarta, Indonesia, 20 October 2014
Mr Widodo flashed his trademark peace sign to thousands during a street parade following his inauguration

Joko Widodo, the charismatic outsider who won Indonesia’s presidency, made a call for national reconciliation and unity as he was sworn in.

Popularly known as Jokowi, the 53-year-old took the oath of office at a ceremony held at parliament in Jakarta.

He was then cheered through the streets as he made his way on a horse-drawn carriage to the state palace.

The former Jakarta governor is the first president not to have come from the military or political elite.

Elected in July, the former furniture exporter and son of a carpenter now leads the world’s third-largest democracy, with a population of about 250 million people.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott were among those who attended the inauguration.

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Karishma Vaswani, BBC News, Indonesia editor“We used to have our transfers of power marked by bloodshed,” said an elderly Indonesian man to me today. “Today – we have this: a huge party.”

Joko Widodo supporters

Indonesia is celebrating the inauguration of its new president in style, with dancers decked out in traditional costumes, a marching band and thousands of people lining up to catch a glimpse of Jokowi on the main thoroughfare.

One man told me he had taken the day off work and brought his young daughters to witness this event because they should know what kind of man makes a “good president”. Another woman, a school teacher, said that Jokowi was someone “like her” and that’s why she is so thrilled he’s become the leader of her country.

It was smiles all around, and a real feeling of festivity in the air. Although Mr Widodo has tough challenges to face in the future, today it was about celebrating the moment and leaving the hard work till tomorrow.

line

Aiming highAfter reading the oath of office, he told Indonesians that “unity and working hand in hand are prerequisites for us to be a great nation. We will never become a great nation if we are stuck with division”.

“This is a historic moment for us all to move together, to work and work,” he said.

Mr Widodo then travelled through the capital in a horse-drawn carriage to the state palace with Vice-President Jusuf Kalla.

He was met by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the palace. The two had met on Sunday for a tour of the estate.

Australian PM Tony Abbott attends Indonesian inauguration in Jakarta (20 Oct 2014)Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was among the foreign dignitaries at the ceremony

An outdoor concert featuring rock bands is scheduled for Monday night, with Mr Widodo expected to appear on stage.

About 24,000 police and military personnel have been deployed, but correspondents say that the mood in the capital is upbeat.

Joko Widodo: Key facts

  • Born in 1961 in city of Solo, the son of a wood-seller
  • Began political career with the PDI-P party when he was elected mayor of Solo in 2005
  • Elected for second term in 2010 with more than 90% of the vote
  • Elected governor of Jakarta in 2012
  • Backer of technology who promises to implement “e-governance” to help cut bureaucratic corruption

What does Jokowi win mean for Indonesia?

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Joko Widodo is sworn in (20 Oct 2014)Jokowi said Indonesia could not be a country of divisions

Jokowi – who has promised to focus on healthcare and education – has been catapulted to power by his “man of the people” image, our correspondent says.

But that will not be easy with an antagonistic parliament in power and he will be sorely tested in this first term in office, she adds.

Mr Widodo’s defeated rival in the presidential election, Prabowo Subianto, gave the new leader his conditional support last week, in a move seen by observers as a positive sign.

But two-thirds of parliament are from Mr Subianto’s coalition. He said on Friday that he would ask his party to support Mr Widodo, but also said he would not hesitate to criticise if he disagreed with him.

Mr Subianto had challenged the election results, claiming there was “massive” electoral fraud, but his case was rejected by Indonesia’s constitutional court.

One of the first, and biggest, challenges Mr Widodo faces is Indonesia’s at least $20bn (£12bn) fuel subsidy bill. He has said he plans to reduce subsidies, but the move has been met with opposition.

Hong Kong: Chief Executive’s Accusation That Pro-Democracy Groups are Run by “Foreign Forces” is Ridiculous

October 20, 2014

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By Heather Timmons

HONG KONG—There’s an easy explanation for the protests that continue to paralyze parts of Hong Kong, after thwarting a police crackdown over the weekend: they are being supported by “external forces,” according to CY Leung, the city’s top official. His remarks echo a refrain from his bosses in Beijing, who claim that foreign forces, and particularly the US, are not only cheering the pro-democracy “Umbrella Movement,” but directly controlling it.

“The US may enjoy the sweet taste of interfering in other countries’ internal affairs, but on the issue of Hong Kong it stands little chance of overcoming the determination of the Chinese government to maintain stability and prosperity,” the state-run People’s Daily wrote in an editorial.

Never mind that these accusations have already been denied publicly  and privately by the protests’ organizers, “categorically rejected” by the US state department and called “erroneous” by specific US pro-democracy groups named by Beijing. Leung, while short of specifics, remains unswayed. “I shan’t go into details, but this is not entirely a domestic movement,” he said during an interview last night in Hong Kong.

Lueng, whose government is scheduled to meet with protesters for the first time tomorrow, might gain a different perspective by taking a quick walk through the protest sites. If you discount the smell of KFC that sometimes wafts over the tents in Admiralty, there’s little tangible evidence of any US influence whatsoever.

In fact, if you had to pick a “foreign influence” by walking through the protest sites, you’d probably name John Lennon, thanks to the number of banners and signs bearing inked drawings and the preponderance of “Imagine” quotes:

Protesters interviewed in Admiralty and other demonstration sites say that Beijing’s August 31 ruling on the city’s elections and Leung’s poor governance are the main reason they are demonstrating—along with a desire to assert Hong Kong’s independent cultural identity apart from the mainland.

We’re trying to say to mainland China, ‘You have to respect these cultural differences and allow them to grow,’” artist Kacey Wong told Quartz earlier this month.

Protester Jeffrey Hui told Quartz he hadn’t seen “any solid evidence of foreign influence on these protests.” Instead, he explained in a separate interview with the BBC, they are “something which is purely by citizens, purely by those who live in Hong Kong, those who care about Hong Kong, who stand up and go against the regime.”

“I don’t have a clear understanding for what US democracy is,” said Ray Tse, a 24-year-old tutor and protester who was living in a tent on Connaught Road, a highway overpass that runs through the center of town. “We’re fighting for what we want.”

When the US has been mentioned at all in recent weeks in Hong Kong, it has been held up as an example of a flawed democracy, no matter what side of the “Umbrella Movement” camp they’re in.

It’s not just the anti-protest groups that are citing the US as an example not to emulate. When Quartz asked Emily Lau, one of the most outspoken pro-democracy legislators in the city, whether the recent Hong Kong police beating of a protester was a sign of the city’s rule of law breaking down, she said “Of course,” then added: “It’s not America where you have police killing people. In Hong Kong we are not used to this.”

http://qz.com/281933/the-us-is-no-role-model-in-hong-kongs-democracy-fight/

Related:

 

 (Includes links to 2 weeks of previous Hong Kong coverage)


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