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Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong was arrested Wednesday alongside a wide range of different freedom activists within the Chinese island metropolis. Zen has repeatedly warned the Vatican of accelerating authorities persecution of spiritual minorities and anti-communist public figures however has traditionally obtained subsequent to no response.
Zen is on the epicenter of the Catholic Church‘s struggle for survival in China. The nation has rolled out intense censures on non secular expression, together with Christianity, which it regulates by means of state-sponsored “patriotic associations.” Chinese residents who want to worship at a Catholic Church (or another home of worship) are required to register with an aggressively pro-CCP governing physique for his or her religion. These organizations typically pressure church buildings to show counter to their dogma, and sometimes insert nationalistic propaganda into worship. This regulation has compelled a schism within the Chinese Catholic Church – the “official” and CCP-approved ministry, and the clandestine, unlawful “underground church.”
Zen has served as an unofficial spokesman for the underground Catholic group, which has seen little help or safety from the Chinese authorities. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) explicitly condemns the underground church for its affiliation and loyalty to a overseas energy – the worldwide Catholic communion.
Zen beforehand dismissed fears that he was a goal for arrest, stating that he tries to not provoke them into motion. However, in a lucid little bit of foresight, Zen acknowledged that “no public person who dares to speak freely can feel safe anymore.”
Hong Kong police arrested the Roman Catholic cardinal and several other others accused of colluding with overseas forces on Wednesday.
In addition to Zen, the arrested embody singer-actress Denise Ho, lawyer Margaret Ng and scholar Hui Po-keung, based on Hong Kong Watch. Each of the people was arrested for allegedly supporting protests towards the CCP’s destruction of democracy in Hong Kong.
Zen has been an outspoken critic of Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, who he blames for conserving church leaders at the hours of darkness about ongoing turmoil in Chinese non secular communities.
Zen has additionally blamed Pope Francis’s South American background for the church’s relaxed diplomacy with China, saying that the pope was not aware of “communists in power.”
“I try to explain, remembering that Pope Francis comes from South America, where the communists are the good guys defending the poor from the oppression of military regimes in collusion with the rich, so he may have sympathy for them,” Zen mentioned in 2020. “He doesn’t have direct experience of communists in power, oppressors of peoples.”
However, the cardinal is vocal about his help for the pope and his loyalty to the Holy See, including, “I can sincerely tell you that my personal relation with the pope is very good, and I have evidence to say that we think the same way.”
“The strange thing is that he doesn’t answer my letters (I even doubt if he has received them), and his actions seem all in agreement with Cardinal Parolin,” he added.
“We condemn the arrests of these activists whose supposed crime was funding legal aid for pro-democracy protesters back in 2019,” Hong Kong Watch mentioned in an announcement. “Today’s arrests signal beyond a doubt that Beijing intends to intensify its crackdown on basic rights and freedoms in Hong Kong. We urge the international community to shine a light on this brutal crackdown and call for the immediate release of these activists.”
The arrests come days after CCP loyalist John Lee grew to become mayor of Hong Kong. Lee was elected with 99% of the vote from the Beijing-controlled election committee, which has 1,500 members.
“I love China. China is not the Communist Party. The Party is not eternal, we hope to be one day, soon, free from the tyranny of Communism,” Zen wrote in 2020. “We believe in God and in the intercession of Our Lady. May all the good people preserve in their faith and the bad people be convicted!”
Fox News Digital contacted the embassy of the People’s Republic of China and the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States, however obtained no responses.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.