Cardinal Joseph Zen, the Catholic Bishop Emeritus, was arrested and released on bail in Hong Kong. He was charged under Hong Kong's national security law. The Vatican has expressed concern over the arrest.
Hong Kong police from the national security department arrested Zen, age 90, and four others for “collusion with foreign forces”. The group of those arrested were trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund. This fund provided legal and financial assistance to those who took part in the 2019 pro-democracy protests. The Guardian, a news outlet from the United Kingdom, reported that source close to him said the cardinal was set to appear in court on the 24th of May with the possibility of further detention.
The Hong Kong Catholic Social Communications Office said it was “extremely concerned” with Zen’s safety. “We have always upheld the rule of law,” the statement read. “We trust that in the future we will continue enjoying religious freedom in Hong Kong under the Basic Law.”
Statistics, show a population of 1.2 million Christians in Hong Kong as of 2020, with a third of these being Catholic among of population of over 7 million in the country.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, spoke to Vatican media concerning the arrest saying:
“I would like to express my closeness to the cardinal, who was freed and treated well." Cardinal Parolin said the event should not be read as “a disavowal” of the agreement between the Holy See and the People's Republic of China on the appointments of bishops, originally agreed in 2018 and later extended for an additional two years. Cardinal Parolin said, “The most concrete hope is that initiatives such as this one will not complicate the already complex and not simple path of dialogue.”