At least four people were arrested by authorities in Hong Kong for being trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund. This non-profit provides legal assistance to those who participated in the 2019 Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrations. A prominent attorney, a singer, and a retired cardinal of 90 years were among those who were arrested.
Chinese authorities suppressed the protests in 2019 and are now looking to end support for them. The 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, however, ceased operations last January after being under pressure from the government.
Authorities arrested Hui Po-Keung, a scholar at Hong Kong International Airport, on Tuesday. They also detained Margaret Ng (barrister), Denise Ho (singer), and Cardinal Joseph Zen (cardinal).
Prominent Hong Kong barrister Margaret Ng – a trustee of a now-defunct protester relief fund – has been arrested, HKFP has learned.
Scholar Hui Po-keung, 90-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen & singer-activist Denise Ho were also reportedly arrested. In full: https://t.co/OtGgmveo2B pic.twitter.com/ls9yHdUhyd
— Hong Kong Free Press HKFP (@hkfp) May 11, 2022
NewsNation reports that scores of protestors were arrested under the sweeping National Security Law Beijing imposed on Beijing in 2020 after the demonstrations. “The city’s independent media were destroyed and its legislature reorganized in order to pack it full of Beijing loyalists.”
Zen is a prominent critic of China’s human rights abuses in Hong Kong. Zen condemned the Vatican’s 2018 decision by the Chinese Communist Party to nominate bishops. This move has alienated underground churches throughout the country, as underground Christians refuse to bow to the CCP.
According to the Hong Kong Free Press, Zen was released by police on bail Wednesday night at 11:15 pm local time. Zen was accompanied by five others as he jumped into a car at the station. He didn’t make any statements to reporters.
According to the Catholic News Agency, the Vatican “follows the development of the condition with extreme attention.”
The manager of Ho confirmed that the singer was arrested, but did not provide any further details. Hui was trying to leave the city when he was stopped at the airport. The charges against all four activists include conspiracy to conspire with foreign powers.
The arrests of Cardinal Zen, a nonagenarian, have been condemned by human-rights activists.
China’s use of its draconian National Security Law against Cardinal Zen in #HongKong is absolutely outrageous, and we should all be incredibly concerned at the thought that religious leaders are now becoming targets of the CCP’s brutal crackdown.
— Katrina Lantos Swett (@LantosSwettK) May 11, 2022
We condemn the shameful arrest of Cardinal Zen and 4 others today in #HongKong on charges of “collusion w/ foreign forces” – a deeply troubling development in China’s ongoing crackdown on advocates of democracy and now, apparently, on religious leaders. https://t.co/Suz8N1LMz7
— IRF Summit 2022 (@IRFSummit) May 11, 2022
This is horrible and truly unbelievable. The #CCPChina has sunk to a new low. It is outrageous. China’s leadership should be sanctioned immediately for their wanton disregard of the rule of law and basic civil liberties. @hk_watch https://t.co/Iq0g9eeWJ4
— Sam Brownback (@SamuelBrownback) May 11, 2022
Maya Wang, Human Rights Watch, stated that “Arresting a 90-year-old cardinal because of his peaceful activities must be a shocking new lowest for Hong Kong,” and added that it was a clear sign of the city’s decline in human rights over the past two years. Human Rights Watch urges the Hong Kong government immediately to release the five men and drop all charges against them.
She continued, “The arrests, which come [sic] days following the Chinese government’s Anointment John Lee as the City’s Chief Executive is an ominous indicator that its crackdown against Hong Kong is only going up,”
Wang said that she heard that former Legislative Council member Cyd Ho Sau-lan had also been arrested.
Benedict Rogers, Hong Kong Watch, stated to the Associated Press that today’s arrests “indicate beyond a doubt Beijing intends to intensify its crackdown against basic rights and freedoms within Hong Kong.” We urge the international community and the UN to highlight this brutal crackdown and demand the immediate release of these activists.
“The AP also reported that the White House called on China’s authorities to stop targeting Hong Kong supporters and release Zen immediately, Karine Jean-Pierre, deputy press secretary, said Wednesday.
Lee’s election was yet another example of the sham elections communists are known for. Lee ran unopposed so Hong Kong’s residents had no choice but to vote for him. The election was condemned by the European Union, G7 nations Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, as well as the United States.
Many pro-democracy activists fled to Taiwan and many others fled Hong Kong due to China’s increasing crackdowns. China’s influence has soared in spite of the “one nation, two systems” concept in which Hong Kong was to maintain certain measures of independence following the end of British rule in 1997.
China, as we all know, doesn’t care.