Hong Kong police on Wednesday arrested a retired Roman Catholic cardinal who had served as the town’s bishop and at the very least three others on fees of “colluding with international forces to hazard China’s national security,” based on media experiences.
Retired Cardinal Joseph Zen, 90, was launched on bail from Chai Wan Police Station at 11 p.m. Wednesday, the Hong Kong Free Press tweeted. He’s mentioned to be “in frail well being,” based on a report in America journal, a Jesuit publication.
The cardinal “didn’t converse. He then entered a non-public automobile parked exterior the police station. The 90-year-old was accompanied by 5 folks when he left the police station,” based on the Hong Kong Free Press.
Three different trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Fund, a now-disbanded group that offered monetary help to pro-democracy demonstrators within the metropolis, have been arrested with Cardinal Zen. Actress-singer Denise Ho, legal professional Margaret Ng and scholar Hui Po-keung have been detained beneath provisions of the 2020 National Security Legislation that Beijing enacted within the aftermath of pro-democracy demonstrations within the former British colony.
Some media experiences indicated a fourth trustee had been detained. No phrase was instantly obtainable on the bail standing of any of the trustees.
“Freedom of expression are crucial to affluent and safe societies,” White Home deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre instructed reporters throughout an Air Pressure One press briefing.
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“We name on PRC [People’s Republic of China] and Hong Kong authorities to stop focusing on Hong Kong’s advocates and to right away release those that have been unjustly detained and charged, just like the Cardinal Joseph Zen … and others arrested immediately,” Ms. Jean-Pierre mentioned.
Cardinal Zen was bishop of the Hong Kong Diocese from 2000 to 2009. He had been a harsh critic of the 2018 settlement between the Vatican and China that acknowledged the appointment of bishops acceptable to China’s communist authorities.
The Vatican expressed concern Wednesday about Cardinal Zen’s detention.
“The Holy See has realized with concern the information of Cardinal Zen’s arrest and is following the evolution of the scenario with excessive consideration,” mentioned papal spokesman Matteo Bruni, based on the official Vatican Information service.
International response was virtually uniformly destructive. Lord David Alton, a member of Britain’s Home of Lords, known as the arrest “an act of outrageous intimidation” on Twitter.
Maya Wang, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, additionally took to Twitter to precise her concern.
“Arresting a 90-year-old cardinal for his peaceable actions must be a surprising new low for Hong Kong, illustrating the town’s free fall in human rights prior to now two years,” Ms. Wang tweeted.
She later added that arresting the human rights advocates “days after the Chinese language authorities’s anointment of former security chief John Lee as the town’s chief government, is an ominous signal that its crackdown on Hong Kong is barely going to escalate.”
• Jeff Mordock contributed this text, which is predicated partially on wire service experiences.