China arrests 90-year-old cardinal for being critical of Communist Party regime | World

Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen, who is critical of the Chinese communist regime, was arrested in Hong Kong under the National Security Law, police and judicial sources on the island said on Wednesday.

The Vatican has expressed concern over the detention of Zen, the 90-year-old bishop emeritus of Hong Kong.

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He is one of the administrators of a now-disbanded fund to help protesters arrested during the pro-democracy protests that took place in Hong Kong three years ago.

  • Hong Kong police announce first arrest under new security law, disperse protesters
  • New security law causes outrage in Hong Kong

“The Holy See receives 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.

The White House called for the immediate release of democracy advocates held in Hong Kong, including the Roman Catholic cardinal.

“Freedom of expression is essential for prosperous and secure societies,” said Casa Blanca press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Cardinal criticized China-Vatican deal

Hong Kong officials arrest more than 50 politicians critical of China

Hong Kong officials arrest more than 50 politicians critical of China

Cardinal Zen recently criticized the Vatican’s decision to enter into a compromise with China on the appointment of bishops in the communist country.

Defender of democracy, he has also spoken out several times in favor of the rights of the LGBTQ community.

In 2020, Joseph Zen warned of the risk of repression of democratic currents in Hong Kong undermining religious freedom in the former British colony. “All over the world we see that when freedom from the population is taken away, religious freedom also disappears,” he said at the time.

Academic Hui Po-keung was also arrested Tuesday at the Hong Kong airport. He is an expert in cultural issues, and he was going to travel to a European country for a university assignment.

Hui’s detention was ordered by Beijing in response to pro-democracy demonstrations. The Chinese government argues that he was in collusion with foreign forces.

A Hong Kong court ruled on Wednesday that prosecutors can classify organizers of the annual vigil for the Tiananmen Square killings as foreign agents, without having to reveal who the accused allegedly work for.

For three decades, the now-disbanded Hong Kong Alliance has held vigils to remember victims of the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing square.

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