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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

China tells mainland media how to refer to retired Hong Kong bishop

Chinese propaganda chiefs have ordered mainland journalists not to describe outspoken Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun as the ‘emeritus’ bishop of Hong Kong, but to instead use the word ‘former’. reported that the new terminology on how to refer to Cardinal Zen was part of a broader list of words and phrases to be ‘banned or used with care’, which state-run Xinhua News Agency announced to media workers in China.

‘‘Former bishop’ instead of ‘emeritus bishop’ should be used to address Zen Ze-kiun and other retired bishops of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese,’ said point No. 48, according to the list posted by several Chinese media.

Cardinal Zen, who retired as bishop of Hong Kong in April 2009, is well known for his loathing of the ruling Communist Party. He has spoken out on political freedom, human rights and religious persecution, especially during his six-and-half-years as bishop of Hong Kong.

Since then, the cardinal has continued his advocacy efforts, and his willingness to get involved in debates over the territory’s political future has made him a favorite of pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong. Most recently he spoke about the communist government’s treatment of Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Laureate who died on 13th July.

Picture: Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, retired bishop of Hong Kong, prays before Pope Benedict XVI’s final public appearance as pope in 2013 at Castel Gandolfo, Italy. (CNS/Paul Haring).