Hong Kong arrests 90-year-old cardinal on national security charge
They have been arrested on suspicion of collusion with overseas forces, a cost below the town’s sweeping nationwide safety regulation, based on an announcement from the Hong Kong Police Pressure. If convicted, they may face most sentences of life in jail.
The 4 have been trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Aid Fund, which was arrange in June 2019 to offer monetary assist and authorized recommendation for protesters who have been injured or arrested. The fund ceased operation final 12 months, after nationwide safety police introduced they’d launched an investigation into its donation sources and whether or not its operations concerned any contravention of the nationwide safety regulation.
Zen was the previous prime Roman Catholic cleric in Hong Kong. He is among the metropolis’s most outspoken critics of each the Hong Kong authorities and Beijing, and is called the “conscience of Hong Kong” amongst his supporters.
Responding to Zen’s arrest, the Vatican mentioned it realized of the information with “concern” and that it’s “following the evolution of the state of affairs with excessive consideration,” it informed CNN in an announcement.
The arrests additionally prompted condemnation from the US and Europe.
“In arresting these veteran activists, students and non secular leaders below the so-called nationwide safety regulation, Hong Kong authorities have once more demonstrated they may pursue all means essential to stifle dissent and undercut protecting rights and freedoms,” US State Division spokesperson Ned Worth mentioned at a press briefing Wednesday.
The European Union’s prime diplomat, Excessive Consultant Josep Borrell, mentioned on Twitter he was following the developments with “nice concern.” “The basic freedoms, as assured within the Hong Kong Primary Legislation and within the Sino-British Joint Declaration, should be revered,” Borrell mentioned.
Amnesty Worldwide’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director Erwin van der Borght mentioned in an announcement that the arrests characterize a “surprising escalation” even by “Hong Kong’s latest requirements of worsening repression,” and demonstrates the Hong Kong authorities’ “callous disregard for the fundamental rights of its residents.”
They’re the newest in a sweeping crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy motion, following the imposition of a controversial Nationwide Safety Legislation on the town in 2020. Since then, a lot of the metropolis’s outstanding pro-democracy figures have both been arrested or gone into exile, whereas many unbiased media retailers and non-government organizations have been shuttered.
The Hong Kong authorities has repeatedly denied criticism that the regulation — which criminalizes acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with overseas forces — has stifled freedoms, claiming as a substitute it has restored order within the metropolis after the 2019 protest motion.
CNN’s Sugam Pokharel, Kristie Lu Stout, Sophie Jeong, Jennifer Deaton, Livia Borghese and Mia Alberti contributed to this report.