Chinese Catholics Face Scrutiny in Hong Kong Push for Democracy

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By Emily Drooby

October 1 marks the first time a demonstrator is known to have been shot during four months of protests in Hong Kong. The moment a teenager was shot in the chest by a police officer was captured on camera.

For much of Tuesday, police and protesters in the city clashed.

Law enforcement used tear gas and water cannons to repel crowds as protesters tossed molotov cocktails and started fires in opposition to the government. 

The uprising in Hong Kong happened on the same day Beijing is marking 70 years of communist rule on the mainland.

Speaking at the anniversary celebration, Chinese President Xi Jinping insisted that despite the protests, Hong Kong remains subject to Chinese rule.

“Forging ahead, we must remain committed to the strategy of peaceful reunification and one country, two systems,” Jinping said. 

There are now reports of a new crackdown against Catholics in China who back the democracy movement in Hong Kong.

The communist regime is reportedly worried that the Catholic support could lead to unrest on the mainland, with the largest concern being that Chinese Catholics could work hand-in-hand with the Church in Hong Kong to inspire a similar resistance movement.

The demands for democracy first started when Hong Kong officials tried to push through a law that opened the door for city residents to be extradited back to China.

Critics anticipate that such a move would clamp down on political dissent and religious liberty, among them Edwin Chow, the acting president of the Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students. 

Speaking to Currents News in August, he condemned the extradition bill and described steps churches in the city are taking to support those pushing for democracy.

“Most of the churches right now, they’re opening their church and letting in the protesters into the church to let them rest. Actually we are organizing some marches, and the church is telling us to pray for Hong Kong. We should never stop doing these things,” Chow said.