ADHRRF – An event about the Hong Kong protest was held in Milan, Italy. Attendees called on the Italian government to defend freedom and democracy in Hong Kong, not to betray its own values.
From the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989 to Hong Kong’s anti-extradition movement beginning this June, more and more people start to talk about freedom and democracy. On November 29, the Italian magazine Tempi held a conference titled—Freedom is my Motherland: From Tiananmen Square to Hong Kong—at the Pime theater in Milan. The meeting aims to help the people of Italy far away in Europe to understand the significance of the protest happening in HK and call on the Italian government to defend HK’s freedom and democracy. At the organizer’s special invitation, HK activist Mr. Lee Cheuk-ya and missionary Father Gianni Criveller of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) attended the event.
Mr. Lee Cheuk-ya is an eyewitness of the Tiananmen Square Massacre and became a democracy activist in 1980, who have been continuously fighting for HK’s freedom and democracy. He said in his speech that Hong Kong is in the frontline defending freedom and democratic values and needs the support of all democratic countries over the world, including Italy.
Mr. Lee emphasized, “You Westerners do not understand that our fight is also yours. And if you continue to do business with Beijing, human rights will continue to be trampled underfoot and the authoritarianism of Xi Jinping will triumph.” He said that if Italy refuses to defend Hong Kong’s freedom and democracy, it will betray its own values and become an accomplice of the CCP regime. He called on the Italian government not to make that mistake.
Hong Kong has historically been a bridge between the Vatican and China. According to a RFI (Radio France Internationale) report, the Vatican pays close attention to the HK protest but remains cautious all the time. The Pope is afraid that his comments on HK protest will affect the Sino-Vatican relationship and the Provisional Agreement on the appointment of Chinese Bishops.
As to the Vatican’s overcautious attitude, Mr. Lee said that the Pope’s position was really unbelievable and disappointing. He said, “In Hong Kong, the church should also be the moral and religious sustenance of the call for greater freedom, civil rights and democracy, but for now, its contribution has been disappointing.”
Different from the moderates of the Roman Catholic Church, Father Gianni Criveller holds a clear-cut viewpoint, “We are committed to the right of residence of the children of HK citizens born in China, as enshrined in the Basic Law. We’ve had hunger strikes, hundreds of sit-ins and demonstrations.” He stressed, “We have proposed, in every possible way, the doctrine of the primacy of conscience over unjust laws; of the public responsibility of every citizen; of non-violence as a way of political participation.”
Father Gianni Criveller has been living in Hong Kong for 25 years and develops a deep feeling for the city. He has been a missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) and is now the principal of the International Theological Seminary in Monza, Italy. He is worried about HK’s future and appealed, “Now a long season of urban violence must be avoided.”
Over 600 people, including college and high school students in Milan, attended the conference.