BEIJING — China yesterday warned Bishop Joseph Zen of Hong Kong, a leading critic of Beijing who was elevated to cardinal this week, not to mix religion with politics.
" We advocate that religious figures should not interfere with politics," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.
" We hope that the Catholic Church in Hong Kong will cherish the stability, development and harmony of Hong Kong society," he said.
Stability is a code word in the Communist Party leadership for accepting its rule and, in Hong Kong’s case, not demanding a more rapid transition to democracy.
Bishop Zen, 74, however, vowed to stick to his outspoken ways, saying he was too old to change his position on issues such as democracy and the rights of the persecuted underground Roman Catholic Church in China.
Don’t interfere with politics, but we reserve the right to not only interfere with religion but to mandate the types of Churches you can have.