Chinese security police arrested Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Local media reported that the cleric is charged with alleged “conspiracy with foreign forces”, local media reported.
Zen, 90, is one of the highest-ranking Catholic clergy in Asia and led the previously disbanded protest fund with four others. The cardinal has long been a champion of democracy in Hong Kong and has repeatedly spoken out against the growing authoritarianism of the Chinese state under President Xi Jinping.
In addition to Zen, authorities have also detained lawyer Margaret Ng, activist and pop musician Denise Ho, former MP Cyd Ho and academic Hui Po-keung. They were also involved in Humanitarian Fund 612.
The Vatican says through a spokesperson that it has taken note of the news of Zen’s arrest with concern. The Holy See also says it is “closely monitoring developments in the situation”.