The elderly Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen, critical of the Chinese communist regime, was on the list of pro-democracy personalities detained in Hong Kong under the National Security Law, police and judicial sources in this administrative region of China had reported on Wednesday. He has already been released on bail.
The Vatican immediately expressed “its concern” over the arrest of 90-year-old Joseph Zen, who was one of the administrators of a fund, now dissolved, to help protesters imprisoned during the massive pro-democracy protests that shook Hong Kong three years ago. years.
“The Holy See received with concern the news of the arrest of Cardinal Zen and is following the development of the situation with extreme attention,” said the director of the Vatican press office, Matteo Bruni.
Cardinal Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, has recently criticized the Vatican’s decision to reach a compromise with China over the appointment of bishops in the communist country. A staunch defender of democracy, he has also made his voice heard in favor of the rights of the LGBTQ community.
In an interview with AFP in September 2020, Joseph Zen warned of the risk that the repression of democracy movements in Hong Kong would undermine freedom of belief in this former British colony restored to Beijing’s sovereignty in 1997. “Around the world we see that if people’s freedom is taken away, religious freedom also disappears,” he said on that occasion.
Judicial sources have also confirmed the arrest on Tuesday at the Hong Kong airport of an important academic specializing in cultural issues, Hui Po-keung, when he was preparing to travel to a European country to take up a university position.
Hui has been detained for “collusion with foreign forces”, which Beijing imposed in response to pro-democracy demonstrations. Also on the list is veteran lawyer Margaret Ng.
A Hong Kong court ruled Wednesday that prosecutors can label the organizers of the annual vigil for the Tiananmen Square massacre as “foreign agents,” without having to reveal who the group is accused of working for.
For three decades, the now-dissolved Hong Kong Alliance has held vigils to remember the victims of the deadly 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
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