.- Bishop of Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun has said his interview with an Italian newspaper, in which he warned that Chinese nationalism could lead to fascism and dictatorship, was âbelated and misplacedâ for being published in the aftermath of the devastating Sichuan earthquake.
A May 27 statement issued on behalf of Cardinal Zen said the timing of La Stampaâs release of the interview had dismayed many people. The statement said it was âhighly inconceivableâ that the paper had chosen the aftermath of the earthquake to juxtapose fascism and Chinese leaders.
Also on May 27 Chinese media carried reports of Cardinal Zenâs critical remarks, which were made the day before the Sichuan quake, May 11.
In the interview with La Stampa, Cardinal Zen referred to analysts who âsee in recent events in China the danger that the country is on the road to fascism, or maybe is heading towards a dictatorial regime with strong nationalist tendencies.â
âThe government has insisted greatly on Chinese pride for the upcoming Olympic games, saying it is only a healthy national sentiment and not ideological nationalism,â the cardinal said.
The cardinalâs statement said that in the La Stampa interview, he had prayed âthat China would escape from the dictatorship of nationalism.â
The cardinalâs reaction also mentioned that after the Sichuan earthquake, Cardinal Zen immediately directed the Diocese of Hong Kong and Caritas Hong Kong to deliver assistance. In addition, the statement praised the Chinese leadersâ response to the disaster for manifesting âhigh transparency and openness in relief process and strategy -- a human orientated mind-set.â
The cardinal also said that a local Chinese paper had made a serious mistake when it misquoted him as saying that the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association is highly appreciated by the "open" and "underground" Catholic communities in mainland China.