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Hong Kong Catholics concerned about Cardinal Zen's safety

Diocese calls on Hong Kong police and judicial authorities to handle the case in accordance with justice

Hong Kong Catholics concerned about Cardinal Zen's safety

Cardinal Joseph Zen was arrested on May 11 under the national security law. (Photo: AFP)

Published: May 12, 2022 08:55 AM GMT

Updated: May 12, 2022 11:24 AM GMT

Hong Kong Diocese has expressed extreme concern about the safety of Cardinal Joseph Zen, its former bishop and an outspoken critic of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The 90-year-old Catholic leader was arrested on May 11 under the national security law and later granted bail.

“The Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong is extremely concerned about the condition and safety of Cardinal Zen,” the diocese said in a statement published on its website on May 12.

Catholics are offering special prayers for the cardinal, it said.

“We have always upheld the rule of law. We trust that in the future we will continue enjoying religious freedom in Hong Kong under the Basic Law,” the statement said.

The arrest of Cardinal Zen along with three democracy advocates is seen as part of the CCP’s increasing attempts to curb democratic freedoms in the city.

Hundreds of pro-democracy activists were arrested and some remain in jail including billionaire-Catholic Jimmy Lai, a close associate of Cardinal Zen

They were among five trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which helped arrested protesters pay their legal and medical bills.

They were accused of “colluding with foreign forces” for their leadership of the now-defunct humanitarian fund.

The diocese urged “the Hong Kong police and the judicial authorities to handle Cardinal Zen’s case in accordance with justice, taking into consideration our concrete human situation.”

“As Christians, it is our firm belief that ‘The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack,’” said the brief and carefully worded response from the diocese.

The pro-democracy movement reportedly created a rift in Hong Kong's community of some 400,000 Catholics. One group resisted open support for the pro-democracy movement, which the communist-controlled administration crushed using police force last year.

Hundreds of pro-democracy activists were arrested and some remain in jail including billionaire Catholic Jimmy Lai, a close associate of Cardinal Zen.

The widespread arrests and crackdown have raised fears over the frail health of Cardinal Zen.

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