A 90-year-old cardinal arrested in Hong Kong has been released on bail. Joseph Zen was arrested by police earlier today for alleged “conspiracy with foreign powers”.
Zen is one of the foremost Roman Catholic clergy in Asia. Along with four others, all of whom are also in jail, he managed a relief fund for protesters arrested during the anti-China protests in 2019.
The fund helped protesters pay their legal and medical costs. Last year, the activities had to be stopped after the dissolution of the company that provided a bank account for the donations.
It also announced an investigation into the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund for alleged violations of the National Security Act, which was introduced in 2020. The law prohibits the pursuit of secession, foreign interference and subversive activities in Hong Kong.
Although the prisoners could no longer be helped financially and legally, the 90-year-old Cardinal Zen still regularly visited arrested demonstrators in the prison.
Zen is a proponent of democracy in Hong Kong and China and has spoken out against the increasingly authoritarian stance in Beijing. The Vatican has said it will closely monitor developments in the Cardinal Zen case.