Status: 05/11/2022 8:01 PM
Hong Kong’s former Archbishop Zane and other members of the pro-democracy movement have been arrested under a controversial “security law”. The Vatican expressed concern. Zain has since been released on bail.
Former Archbishop Cardinal Joseph Zen has been arrested in Hong Kong for alleged violations of a controversial national “security law”. The South China Morning Post newspaper, citing a source, reported that retired Cardinal Zhen, former opposition MP Margaret Ng and singer Dennis Ho were arrested on charges of “collusion with foreign forces”.
The three were among five trustees of a relief fund set up to provide financial aid to activists involved in the 2019 anti-government protests in Hong Kong. UK-based human rights group Hong Kong Watch said the fund was closed in 2021.
release on bail
Police said two men and two women, aged 45 to 90, have been arrested on charges of “conspiracy to cooperate with foreign forces to endanger national security”. They will be released on bail, but their travel documents will be confiscated.
Media reports showed Zen journalists shaking hands as they exited the police station.
More arrests in Hong Kong
According to Hong Kong Watch, cultural scientist and university lecturer Hui Po Keung was arrested at Hong Kong airport a day earlier by the National Security Police. Human Rights Watch (HRW) China expert Maya Wang said former MP Seid Ho Sou Lan had also been arrested.
He is also said to have been involved as a trustee in the management of the fund, which provided legal aid to people who participated in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong two years ago. In the summer of 2020, Beijing then enacted a stringent national “security law” for its Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, which severely curtailed the political rights of the population. Since then, many supporters of the opposition have either been arrested, withdrawn from politics or fled abroad.
Critics of the Chinese Leadership
Cardinal Zane is considered a strong critic of China and has strongly condemned the 2018 treaty between the Vatican and the People’s Republic on the appointment of Catholic bishops in the country as a sale of the Chinese underground church. For decades, the Chinese Church has been divided into a so-called Patriotic Union, one loyal to the state, and an underground church.
Zen, Bishop of Hong Kong from 2002 to 2009, is one of the most influential representatives of the Catholic Church in Asia in terms of church politics. Beyond his tenure, the Salesian monk of Don Bosco was one of the leading critics of the communist leadership in Beijing and its human rights and religious policies. In an interview with the KNA news agency in 2018, he said: “Unbelievable. How can the Vatican have any hope in such a government?” He always feared that the Holy See would allow the government in Beijing to carry out its functions on its own.
concern in the Vatican
In Rome, news of the 90-year-old’s arrest caused great concern. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said: “The Holy See was concerned about the arrest of Cardinal Zen and is paying the highest attention to this development.” In a statement, the White House in Washington called for the “immediate release” of those “wrongfully arrested and accused”.
Human Rights Watch called the arrests “shocking”. “The arrest of a 90-year-old cardinal for peaceful activities is a shocking new level for Hong Kong and reflects the free fall of human rights in the city over the past two years,” HRW employee Wang told the Hong Kong Free Press. Door. “The arrests, which follow the appointment by the Chinese government of former security chief John Lee as head of the city’s government, are an ominous sign that action in Hong Kong will escalate.”
Former security chief to be new prime minister
A former security minister loyal to Beijing was appointed as the new head of Hong Kong’s government over the weekend. A committee voted for Lee with 99 percent of the vote, and there was no opposing candidate. The 64-year-old played a central role in crackdown on the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement that mobilized millions in 2019.
“I realize that I will need time to convince the population,” Lee said after his election. “But I will make it through action”. Now that the authorities have “restored order after the chaos,” he aims to create a Hong Kong “full of hope, opportunity and harmony”.
religious freedom under pressure
Since the introduction of the so-called “security law” by China in late June 2020, civil liberties, freedom of the press and the rule of law have been suppressed in the Chinese Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong. Religious freedom is also coming under increasing pressure from the pro-Chinese leadership.
In June 2021, pro-Chinese activists targeted services in seven Catholic churches to mark the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. They put up banners in front of churches that read “Malicious Cult” and depicted Cardinal Zen as a one-horned devil.
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