Cardinal Joseph Zen arrested in Hong Kong Blitz

Night raid between democracy activists in Hong Kong. Five Democratic administrators of the now-dissolved 2019 Pro-Democracy Protesters Defense Fund, including Cardinal Joseph Zen, were arrested on the evening of May 11, in Hong Kong.

We first learned of the arrest of Hui Bo Kyung, a Hong Kong academic who co-managed this fund. He was arrested at Hong Kong airport under the National Security Act because he was about to travel to Europe for a university position.

He was imprisoned in his Salesian community

Later in the evening, several sources indicated that four other managers of the “612 Humanitarian Relief Fund” And Those who helped the arrested protesters pay their legal and medical bills, were also arrested. Among them was the retired Cardinal Joseph Zane, one of the prominent figures in the Catholic Church in Asia – “He was taken by the police who came to look for him in the Salesian community” -, Renowned lawyer Margaret Ng, famous pop singer and LGBTQ activist Denise Ho who celebrated her 45th birthday the day before. Pro-democracy activist Syed was also part of the relief fund but is already behind bars on other charges.

Looks like they were arrested for Collusion with foreign forces According to a source punishable by the National Security Law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong in July 2020 in response to the massive protests the previous year. This law has crushed all opposition in this Asian mall where expression was once free.

“The Holy See has learned with concern the news of the arrest of Cardinal Zein and is closely following the developments of the situation.” The Vatican said. But at the end of an afternoon in Europe, we learned that four of the five activists had been released on bail, and a fifth remained in prison.

Cardinal Joseph Zen, Honorary Bishop of Hong Kong (the diocese he led from 2002 to 2009), and a figure in the fight for democracy and religious freedoms in China, responded to Cross The day after the National Security Act was imposed: “I fear we will lose our independence, which the Beijing regime promised years ago in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. Beijing is the root of all of Hong Kong’s current problems. Hong Kong expects the worst now, and I don’t see what we can do unless there is a strong international reaction.” »

Hostility to the agreement signed between the Vatican and Beijing

The titular bishop is also known for his perceived hostility to the agreement signed between the Vatican and Beijing on the appointment of Chinese bishops in September 2018, after nearly 70 years of absence of diplomatic relations.

Cardinal Joseph Zane believed that the agreement could, purely and simply, lead to “Annihilation of the True Church” Chinese. He also criticized Pope Francis. “For me, the Pope does not know the situation of the Church in China and the nature of the Chinese system”Frankly indicated.

Two-year agreement

In 2020, China and the Vatican agreed to extend the landmark agreement reached in 2018 by two years, despite the context of hard-line Chinese power. Text is not unanimous. Without going to Cardinal Zen, some deplore the deteriorating living conditions of some Chinese Catholics, they say.

“The fact that this agreement is kept secret is a real problem, because the Chinese authorities can take advantage of the Vatican’s backing to carry out these actions.”concerned Father Bernardo Cervilera, priest at the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions who leads, in Rome, the information portal Asia News.

The arrests, including that of Cardinal Zen, come the day after Beijing named John Lee, 64, as the next chief executive to succeed Carrie Lam in July. “End security work”.

Despite hundreds of arrests of activists, lawyers, MPs, journalists and students since 2019, the spirit of resistance has not disappeared in Hong Kong as local police departments continue to systematically track down those responsible for the protests.


An anti-Chinese figure

Cardinal Joseph Zen was born on January 13, 1932 in Shanghai (China). He joined Hong Kong with his family at the age of twelve before the Communists came to power. He was ordained priest on February 11, 1961 for the Society of Don Bosco (Salesians) in Italy. He returned to Hong Kong in the early 1970s.

President of the Salesian Province of China for six years (1978–1984), he was appointed Quadjuttor as Bishop of Hong Kong in 1996 and Diocesan Archbishop in 2002 (a position from which he retired in 2009). Created by Cardinal Benedict XVI in 2006. Cardinal Zane is known for his many stances in defense of democracy and individual liberties.

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