Francis appointed on May 17 Jesuit Father Stephen Chow Sau-yan who has been the Provincial of the Chinese Province of the Society of Jesus since 2018, as the new Hong Kong Bishop.
A Hong Kong native, he will take over from Cardinal John Tong Hon, 81, who was brought in as an Apostolic Administrator after his successor had died in 2019. Chow, a trained psychologist, studied at Minnesota and Harvard University. He will only take over in December.
Last September, Chow said that Hong Kong’s new national security law would be discussed with students at Jesuit-run schools in Hong Kong “as an objective fact” and that "neutrality would be preserved in teaching." Cardinal Zen who retired as Hong Kong Bishop in 2009, had sharply criticised the law and used all means to avoid the appointment of Father Peter Choy, Beijing's candidate of choice.
Methodist Professor Lo Lung-kwong, a research fellow with Chinese University of Hong Kong’s school of divinity, told South China Morning Post that picking Chow was a "prudent decision" as "he has not displayed any obvious political leanings" - which means that he sides with the ruling powers.
Last year, the Vatican cancelled a planned announcement of the new bishop after the candidate refused at the last minute.