Hong Kong Region leader greets LDS

Freedom of religion for all residents of this city will continue after it reverts from British to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, the Region's chief executive told Church leaders in a meeting April 23.

President James E. Faust, accompanied by Elders Russell M. Nelson, Kwok Yuen Tai and John H. Groberg, was graciously received by Mr. Tung Chee-hwa, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.Mr. Tung assured the group that freedom of religion will continue in Hong Kong.

President Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve were in Hong Kong for a regional conference of the five stakes in the Region.

Elders Tai and Groberg of the Seventy, members of the Asia Area presidency, reside in Hong Kong.

The meeting with Mr. Tung was very cordial and informative, said the leaders. He spoke English fluently, having been educated in England as well as China and Hong Kong. He also lived in America for almost a decade. Mr. Tung has a wide background of leadership experience in Asia and America.

President Faust extended greetings to Mr. Tung in behalf of President Gordon B. Hinckley and briefly reviewed the history of the Church in Hong Kong. He noted the activities of its members, missionaries, their humanitarian service, and their special gratitude for the new temple in Hong Kong, dedicated in May 1996 by President Hinckley.

President Faust also noted the worldwide growth of the Church, now established in more than 160 nations of the world.

"Wherever our members live, they believe in being subjects to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates, in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law. Our members here and Church leaders will be praying for your success," said President Faust.

Mr. Tung expressed appreciation for that support.

He asserted his commitment to preserve religious freedom for all people of Hong Kong and to continue to build upon the democratic principles that have undergirded the great success of Hong Kong. He said he hoped members of the Church in Hong Kong would continue to pursue their goals in the future as they have in the past.

"Certainly, religious freedom will remain here," Mr. Tung declared.

In this year of sesquicentennial celebration of the Mormon Pioneers entering the valley of the Great Salt Lake, President Faust presented a commemorative sculpture to Mr. Tung, depicting a pioneer wagon being pulled by a team of oxen.

Responding to this gift, Mr. Tung noted the significant fact that 1997 is the Chinese year of the Ox, as was the year in which the 60-year-old Mr. Tung was born. "This gift has great symbolism for both of us," he concluded.

In parting, Mr. Tung thanked President Faust and the other Church leaders for their visit and expressed the sincere hope that the Church would continue to prosper in Hong Kong, blessing the lives of its citizens as well as people of many other nations throughout the world.

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