Activist: China’s ‘killing’ of Hong Kong paper has ‘serious implications’ for religious liberty

Rogers, who was denied entry to Hong Kong in October 2017 and is likely banned from the city for life, accused the local Catholic diocese of “self-censoring.”

He pointed to a pastoral letter that Cardinal John Tong Hon wrote to priests following the passage of the national security law, warning them of the need to “watch our language” in homilies.

Rogers said: “We may not see freedom of worship — the right to go to Mass on Sundays — affected, and we may not see the destruction of churches and crosses in Hong Kong as we see in mainland China, but we are already seeing a restriction of freedom of religion and conscience in terms of what priests feel comfortable to preach, to say, to advise.”

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s equivalent of a foreign minister, said last week that he was not convinced that speaking out on the situation in Hong Kong would make a difference.

More in Europe

“One can say a lot of, shall we say, appropriate words that would be appreciated by the international press and by many parts of the world, but I — and, I think, many of my colleagues — have yet to be convinced that it would make any difference whatever,” he commented.

Rogers argued that the Holy See had a duty to speak out.

“The international community, including especially the Vatican, must speak out. If we don’t speak out, who will?” he asked.

“And democracies must work in concert, to coordinate sanctions and pressure. If the free world unites and puts pressure on the Chinese Communist Party regime, it has a chance of helping.”

“If it stays silent and acquiesces with repression, then not only will the repression in Hong Kong intensify, it will extend further into aggression towards Taiwan and an assault on our own freedoms.”

“So it is in everyone’s interests to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party,” he concluded, “and say enough is enough, and to coordinate actions to curtail and reign in their repression. Failure to do so is a total moral failure and a total capitulation to evil.”