Hong Kong, China, May 21, 2021 / 11:29 am
For several informed sources inside the Vatican, the appointment of the Fr. Stephen Chow Sau-yan, a Jesuit, as Bishop of Hong Kong shows both Pope Francis’ way in balancing different positions and his preference for priests coming from a religious order when situations are difficult.
Hong Kong is a Chinese territory transferred from Great Britain to China in 1997. Despite the "One country – two systems” policy, meaning that mainland China was keeping the different, more democratic Hong Kong system once the latter rejoined the "motherland," protests in Hong Kong have been spreading since 2019.
Many citizens protested against the local government decision to push a controversial “security law” bill in 2020, following an equally controversial 2019 extradition law that would allow the extradition of political law breakers to mainland China. The government reaction to protests led to the arrest of prominent Catholic leaders, like media mogul Jimmy Lai.
After the death of Bishop Yeung in January 2019, Pope Francis had to figure out who could be the best person to fit the position of Hong Kong's bishop.