Citing ‘police state,’ Cardinal Bo urges prayers for Hong Kong

By Catholic News Service
Wednesday, May 18, 2022

YANGON, Myanmar — Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, urged prayers for Hong Kong after the detention of Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun.

“Hong Kong used to be one of Asia’s freest and most open cities,” Cardinal Bo said May 14. “Today, it has been transformed into a police state. Freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and association, and academic freedom have all been dismantled. There are early signs that freedom of religion or belief, a human right set out in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Hong Kong is a party, is threatened.”

Hong Kong’s national security police separately detained Cardinal Zen, 90, and three other trustees of the now-defunct 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund May 10 and May 11, and all were released May 11. The fund was set up to offer financial assistance to those involved in anti-government protests in 2019 and was disbanded after coming under scrutiny by authorities over the past year.

Hong Kong’s 2020 security law made participating in or supporting the pro-democracy movement crimes of subversion and collusion with foreign organizations and allowed for those remanded to be extradited to mainland China. Punishment ranges between a minimum of three years and a maximum of life imprisonment.

Cardinal Bo noted that Cardinal Zen “was arrested and faces charges simply because he served as a trustee of a fund which provided legal aid to activists facing court cases.”


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