World NewsCardinal Joseph Zen, 90, begins trial in Hong Kong on charges of...

Cardinal Joseph Zen, 90, begins trial in Hong Kong on charges of foreign collusion

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A 90-year-old Roman Catholic cardinal, who was arrested earlier this 12 months by the Chinese language Communist Occasion (CCP) for allegedly colluding with international forces by failing to register his pro-democracy charity fund with the federal government, begins his formal trial Monday in Hong Kong.

Cardinal Joseph Zen, the previous archbishop of Hong Kong, was unceremoniously arrested with 4 different pro-democracy advocates in Might for allegedly colluding with international forces in violation of a CCP-imposed nationwide safety regulation, in keeping with Crux.

The 5 have been particularly charged with not registering a now-defunct reduction fund used to bail out protesters and pay the authorized charges of Hong Kongers who demonstrated in 2019 in opposition to a controversial invoice permitting extradition to mainland China.

Along with Zen, others on trial embody Barrister Margaret Ng, singer-activist Denise Ho, scholar Hui Po-keung, former legislator Cyd Ho and activist Sze Ching-wee, who served because the fund’s secretary normal earlier than it shut down final October. All 5 submitted pleas of not responsible. Zen has been out on bail since Might 11.

ARRESTED CARDINAL REPEATEDLY WARNED HOLY SEE OF CHINESE PERSECUTION, CONDEMNED VATICAN’S SECRETARY OF STATE

Joseph Zen, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, arrives for a church service at St. Andrew’s Parish in Hong Kong on Friday, June 4, 2021.
(Chan Lengthy Hei/Bloomberg through Getty Photographs)

“I need to stress that Hong Kong is a society with rule of regulation the place no group or particular person is above the regulation and all offenses shall be prosecuted in accordance with regulation,” Chinese language International Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian mentioned on the time. “We firmly oppose any act that denigrates rule of regulation in Hong Kong and interferes in its affairs.”

Frank Wolf, a former U.S. congressman from Virginia who serves on the U.S. Fee on Worldwide Non secular Freedom (USCIRF), not too long ago penned an op-ed for Fox Information Digital through which he referred to as the costs in opposition to Zen “spurious,” and wrote that he’s “deeply involved about his security and well-being.”

CARDINAL ZEN APPEARS IN HONG KONG COURT AFTER ARREST BY CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY

“The Chinese language authorities has damaged its guarantees and is eviscerating the rule of regulation and civil liberties in Hong Kong,” Wolf wrote. “Non secular freedom as a elementary proper will inevitably endure as properly. The truth is, we’re witnessing earlier than our eyes this free metropolis devolving into an more and more repressive society the place nobody resisting authorities tyranny is protected, together with spiritual leaders and communities.”

“Cardinal Zen will not be solely a democracy activist in Hong Kong, however he has additionally been a tireless and outspoken advocate for spiritual freedom and human rights in China,” Wolf additionally mentioned. “He’s a hero and function mannequin for a lot of.”

(L to R) Cardinals John Tong Hon, Cardinal Joseph Zen, Bishop Stephen Chow, Bishop Joseph Ha and Dom. Paul Gao pose for a photo at the Episcopal Ordination of the Most Reverend Stephen Chow in Hong Kong's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 4, 2021.

(L to R) Cardinals John Tong Hon, Cardinal Joseph Zen, Bishop Stephen Chow, Bishop Joseph Ha and Dom. Paul Gao pose for a photograph on the Episcopal Ordination of the Most Reverend Stephen Chow in Hong Kong’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 4, 2021.
(BERTHA WANG/AFP through Getty Photographs)

USCIRF didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark from Fox Information Digital.

Zen’s repeated warnings to the Vatican concerning the CCP’s elevated crackdowns on spiritual minorities and public figures who resist the federal government have traditionally been met with little response, prompting the cardinal guilty Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin for holding church leaders in the dead of night on such points.

Zen has additionally criticized Pope Francis, whose South American background he has blamed for the Holy See’s relaxed diplomacy with China, saying that the pope will not be conversant in “communists in energy.”

ARRESTED CARDINAL REPEATEDLY WARNED HOLY SEE OF CHINESE PERSECUTION, CONDEMNED VATICAN’S SECRETARY OF STATE

“I attempt to clarify, remembering that Pope Francis comes from South America, the place the communists are the great guys defending the poor from the oppression of army regimes in collusion with the wealthy, so he could have sympathy for them,” Zen mentioned in 2020. “He doesn’t have direct expertise of communists in energy, oppressors of peoples.”

Pope Francis meets with bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated persons, seminarians and pastoral workers in Our Lady Of Perpetual Help Cathedral in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, on Sept. 15, 2022.

Pope Francis meets with bishops, monks, deacons, consecrated individuals, seminarians and pastoral employees in Our Girl Of Perpetual Assist Cathedral in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, on Sept. 15, 2022.
(REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev)

Chinese language President Xi Jinping reportedly turned down a proposal to fulfill with Pope Francis whereas the 2 have been in Kazakhstan on the identical time final week, in keeping with Reuters.

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Fox Information’ Timothy H.J. Nerrozzi contributed to this report. 

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