Cardinal Joseph Zen has been arrested by the authorities in Hong Kong, according to local media reports.
The 90-year-old former Catholic bishop of Hong Kong was reportedly detained on May 11 in his role as a trustee of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which helped pro-democracy protestors to pay their legal fees.
The Standard newspaper reported that the trustees were arrested on Wednesday (May 11) evening local time, according to sources.
The fund, which was founded in 2019, disbanded last year after the national security police ordered it to share operational details, the newspaper said.
Zen, who stood down as Hong Kong’s Catholic bishop in 2009, is an outspoken supporter of the pro-democracy movement.
In 2020, a sweeping National Security Law came into force, criminalizing previously protected civil liberties under the headings of “sedition“ and “foreign collusion.”
Reuters reported that Zen and four others were arrested for alleged “collusion with foreign forces.”
Before the law’s implementation, many Catholics, including Zen, warned that it could be used to silence the Church in Hong Kong.
Zen’s arrest will pose a dilemma for the Vatican, which has shied away from public criticism of the crackdown in Hong Kong.
Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s equivalent of a foreign minister, said in June 2021 that he was not convinced that speaking out on the situation in Hong Kong would make a difference. - Catholic News Agency
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