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Hong Kong police arrest Roman Catholic cardinal

Cardinal Joseph Zen (left) attends an annual New Year protest in Hong Kong in 2019. Associated Press/Photo by Kin Cheung

Hong Kong police arrest Roman Catholic cardinal

Cardinal Joseph Zen, 90, was taken into custody Wednesday under Hong Kong’s strict national security law. Zen, singer-actress Denise Ho, lawyer Margaret Ng, and scholar Hui Po-keung were arrested for their prior roles as trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund. The organization gave legal aid to participants of 2019 pro-democracy protests but shut down in 2021.

Why is this a crime? According to the U.K.-based human rights group Hong Kong Watch, the group will be charged with colluding with foreign forces to endanger national security. Zen, a retired archbishop of Hong Kong, has long been a critic of China’s Communist government. In 2018, he condemned the Vatican’s provisional agreement that allows the Communist Party to select Chinese bishops and argued it would lead to persecution of underground Christians. Hui, who formerly taught an exiled political activist, was at the airport ready to leave the city when he was arrested. Ng and Ho have been jailed before for having ties to the pro-democracy media outlet Stand News.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read June Cheng’s profile of Zen and the Catholic church in Hong Kong.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a WORLD reporter and a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College. She resides in Washington, D.C.


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