The outgoing Bishop of Hong Kong has praised his successor as “better” than him in “every way”.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal John Tong Hon, who is 78, and named his successor as Coadjutor Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, 70.

Cardinal Tong had led the diocese since Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun retired in 2009.

Last year Bishop Yeung said he was grateful for having two predecessors who stand “like two big trees offering shelter” while storms rocked Hong Kong society. Hong Kong has a charged political atmosphere due to the clash between pro-democracy activists and the local and Beijing governments. Younger Christians are also unhappy with their leaders adopting a reconciliatory attitude towards the Chinese communist regime, according to ucanews.com.

Bishop Yeung praised the wisdom of Cardinal Zen as “God’s gift” and said “Cardinal John Tong Hon taught me to love Chinese culture, love the Chinese people and love the Church.” Cardinal Tong and Cardinal Zen have deeply opposing views on China-Vatican negotiations. Cardinal Tong has defended them while Cardinal Zen has been a vocal critic.

Anthony Lam Sui-ki, senior researcher of the diocese’s Holy Spirit Study Centre who has known Bishop Yeung for 30 years, told ucanews.com that he was a “man of great responsibility and is serious about his principles. He graduated from journalism school so he will know how to use the media in a healthy way to balance out the noise.”

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