As the Chinese New Year will come this weekend, Hong Kong religious leaders send blessings to all citizens, wishing to see a more stable society by promoting family values and youth education.
A joint statement from the six major religious leaders of Hong Kong dated Jan. 11 was released on the Hong Kong Christian Council (HKCC) website. The leaders that have signed the statement include the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong Most Rev. Joseph Zen; chairperson of HKCC Rt. Rev. Thomas Soo; president the Confucian Academy Dr. Tong Yun Kai; chairman of the Hong Kong Taoist Association Tong Wai Ki; chairman of the Chinese Muslim Cultural and Fraternal Association Ayub Yuet Che Yin and president of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association Ven. Kwok Kwong.
The religious leaders have expressed concern over the prevalence of family problems in Hong Kong triggered by violence, divorce or excessive gambling. In particular, many excessive gamblers have suffered from immense physical and emotional pain due to gambling debts and pressures from loan sharks, thus devastating their family lives.
Following the family problems, the second generations are actually the innocent victims.
"We believe that the virtues embedded in Chinese culture and tradition are the building blocks of harmonious families, and families make society. Yet, we see that many among our younger generation have a greatly-eroded sense of responsibility toward their family and the society they live in," the leaders lamented in the statement.
The leaders expressed "distress" about the frequent report of suicide and youth violence, with extreme cases of children grouping into gangs to bully and extort.
In addition, many young people are drawn to "many unwholesome messages" on the internet as the use of information technology becomes part of their lives in this era. These messages have cancelled the effort from parents and teachers to guide and teach the youths. The phenomenon poses "a lethal silent threat" to the well-being of the society, the leaders commented.
Reviewing last year, the religious leaders expressed "buoyant anticipation" upon the installation of the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Donald Tsang. Tsang is well-known to be a devout Catholic and he has pledged "to strive for strong governance for the betterment of the people of Hong Kong." According to the statement, the religious leaders have a strong hope over Tsang’s administration.
In face of various social challenges in Hong Kong, religious leaders urge the authorities "to halt any further spread of gambling as one of its governing priorities," "to make speedy measures to upgrade the education offered in schools," and "to effectively remedy the grave abuse of the use of internet."
In conclusion, the religious leaders promised to cooperate with the Hong Kong government to create a positive society, "We in the religious sector take this opportunity to declare once again our dedication and commitment to inspire and safeguard the inner spiritual wholesomeness of the people we serve, and pledge our close cooperation with the SAR government in affirming the positive and uplifting moral standards."