Hong Kong Christians protest religious oppression in China

More than 50 Christians in Hong Kong marched to the Beijing liaison office over the weekend to protest the religious oppression happening in mainland China.

(Reuters/Bobby Yip)Cardinal Joseph Zen (C), an outspoken critic of Beijing, along with other protesters takes part in a demonstration to demand religious freedom in China outside the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong, July 11, 2012.

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun was among those who attended the Hong Kong protest against violation of religious freedom in China. The organizers of the activity say Chinese authorities have forcibly taken down crosses from more than 2,000 churches in Zhejiang in the last two years, the South China Morning Post relays.

The Hong Kong Christian Institute, Christian Social Concern Fellowship, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Hong Kong, and Christians for Hong Kong Society were the groups that attended the protest at the Hong Kong Liaison Office with China. The demonstrators laid down flowers to honor the memory of those who died fighting for religious liberty in China, Asia News reports.

Former Hong Kong bishop Cardinal Zen delivered a sermon during the protest and said they cannot just watch silently while their brethren in mainland China are being persecuted for their faith. He called on the country's leaders to investigate the situation, release the imprisoned religious leaders, and give back the citizens' religious liberty.

"We can't just watch on the side. If we don't speak out, we are the accomplices," said Cardinal Zen. "We want the country's leadership to seriously look into the barbaric actions used to breach religious freedom and to guarantee the rights of citizens to personal safety and to give back respect to worshippers."

In addition, the retired bishop pointed out the deteriorating freedom of religion in Hong Kong. Expressing concern that the anti-Christian campaign could reach Hong Kong, Cardinal Zen called on citizens to move to prevent the situation from getting worse.

The protest of Hong Kong Christians come on the heels of Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech during a recent meeting in which he emphasized the superiority of the Communist Party over religious groups.