Happy Valley burial today for bishop

Local | Cindy Wan 11 Jan 2019

Hundreds of Catholics paid their last respects to bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung in a vigil mass yesterday night.

They queued up outside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Caine Road before the vigil mass began at 8pm.

The city's richest tycoon, Li Ka-shing, was among those who sent flowers to the ceremony. The vigil mass was presided over by Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun.

There were also overnight prayers for the late bishop following the vigil.

Yeung's coffin will be moved to Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery in Happy Valley this morning for burial, presided over by Auxiliary Bishop of Hong Kong Joseph Ha Chi-shing.

Yeung, who died of liver failure at age 73 on January 3, was born in Shanghai and moved to Hong Kong with his family when he was four. He was appointed the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hong Kong after Cardinal John Tong Hon retired in August 2017, albeit admitting to having health issues when taking up the post.

Before becoming the SAR's Catholic leader, he was Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong from 2009. In August 2014, he was promoted to be Auxiliary Bishop of Hong Kong, becoming Coadjutor Bishop in November 2016.

The late bishop was known for making numerous controversial pro-Beijing political remarks.

In 2016, he said that Hong Kong independence was "absolutely impossible" and "unfeasible."

He was also criticized for leaning towards the rich and powerful, and for having frequent meetings with officials and wealthy individuals.

However, he explained he was willing to bend over if the rich would help poor and disadvantaged people.

He was also lambasted by the gay community for comparing homosexuality to drug abuse.

His comments on the Tiananmen Square incident also sparked widespread criticism. Yeung said it was an unfortunate incident, and that he supported the students. But he then described himself as a realistic person and asked: "If you know it is a hard wall, is it still necessary to hit the wall with your head?"

When questioned about China removing crosses from Catholic churches, Yeung said it could be related to building safety.

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