Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong arrested for foreign collusion – The Washington Post

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HONG KONG — The Hong Kong national security police arrested 90-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen, the most outspoken senior Catholic cleric in Hong Kong and the city’s bishop emeritus, along with at least three others on Wednesday for their involvement in a humanitarian relief fund, according to lawyers involved in the case.

The arrests signal a new wave of detentions under the national security law since John Lee was elected as the new chief executive of Hong Kong. He has emphasized that maintaining stability and safeguarding national security would be one of his main goals.

Zen, along with renowned barrister Margaret Ng and academic Hui Po-keung, were arrested under the law for collusion with foreign forces by helping out as trustees for the now-disbanded 612 humanitarian relief fund, according to local media reports.

Lawyers familiar with the case confirmed the arrests. The three were trustees of the fund, which provided financial assistance to those arrested in the 2019 pro-democracy protests and which pay for their legal fees. The fund disbanded in September, after the national security police issued a statement saying it would investigate whether the fund has violated the security law.

The lawyers spoken on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Zen has been an advocate of pro-democracy causes in Hong Kong and critical of the Vatican for its silence on Hong Kong and the increased repression of churches in mainland China. In 2020, he tried to meet Pope Francis during a visit to the Vatican, to convince him to appoint a new bishop for Hong Kong “trusted by people” and could stand firm against Beijing’s encroaching grip in the region, but did not manage to meet him.

In January, pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao slammed Zen, accusing him of “exploiting his role as a cleric” and said he “meddled with Hong Kong affairs.” Zen had continued to attend court trials and visit jailed Catholic activists, including Jimmy Lai, founder of the now-shuttered pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily.

Popular local singer Denise Ho was also arrested, according to local media reports.


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Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong arrested for foreign collusion – The Washington Post

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