HONG KONG- Ahead of the National Day of China, religious leaders in Hong Kong held an ecumenical celebration to celebrate the unity and harmony of different religions in the special city.
On Sept. 21, some 400 leaders from the five major religions in Hong Kong- Christianity, Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, Confucian- gathered at the Miramar Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. Representatives from each religion were invited to deliver a congratulation note to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the establishment of the People's Republic of China on Oct. 1.
Rev. Eric So, chairperson of the Hong Kong Christian Council, representative of Christianity, quoted the bible verses from Ephesians 2: 14-15 "For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace," to convey the message of reconciliation.
Amid the recent conflicts between Muslims and the Pope, So believes that if all people can communicate more, respect each other more and understand each other more, the harmony between nations, between people and nations can be achieved.
In the concluding congratulation note signed by representatives of all religions, it is noted that China has given great concern to people Hong Kong, and it has high expectation on Hong Kong people that they may unite together and build a harmonious society. In addition, representatives acknowledged the enormous impact of the mass media over the culture and conscience of the society, they appeal to the mass media raise its quality, instead of providing unhealthy information such as violence and pornography.
Family violence is another heated issue in Hong Kong, women, children and elderly are victimized. Religious leaders emphasized that a family is the basic unit of the society, thus spouses should respect one another and become a role model for the next generation. Just as the traditional Chinese culture stressed on the harmony within one family, the nation will be strengthened through orderly families.
After the handover of sovereignty to China in 1997, the former British colony enjoys a high degree of autonomy in the area of religious freedom under the "one country, two systems" concept. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government prohibits religious discrimination by the Bill of Rights Ordinance while the Basic Law guaranteed the freedom of religion.
[Editor's note: Joanna Wong has reported from Hong Kong for this article.]