Cardinal Joseph Zen, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong and Forum 2000 Conference participant, was arrested on May 11, 2022, by the Hong Kong national security police under Chinese influence. Cardinal Zen was arrested together with at least three others, including renowned barrister Margaret Ng and academic Hui Po-keung for “colluding with foreign forces” based on their involvement in a humanitarian relief fund.
On June 30, 2020, China introduced the National Security Law (NSL) in Hong Kong that reduces Hong Kong's judicial autonomy and makes it easier to punish demonstrators, activists and dissidents. It criminalizes secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces and carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. It is now obvious that despite the Pope's appeasement policy vis-à-vis the Chinese Communist Party, the latter has no intention of respecting freedoms. Cardinal Zen's arrest sets dangerous precedent for the future of religious freedom in Hong Kong.
Forum 2000 Foundation and Working Group on the Global Influence of China and its Impact on Democracy strongly condemn the arrests of these activists and demand their immediate release. We oppose any intensification of attacks on human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong and call on the international community to pay attention to this case. Labelling assistance to pro-democracy demonstrators as crime is unacceptable.
Cardinal Zen (born in Shanghai, China, 1932) served as the Coadjutor Bishop of Hong Kong (1996–2002) and then as a Bishop (2002–2009), named Cardinal in 2006. He is a member of the Salesians Society of Don Bosco and has also served as the Provincial Superior (1978–1983). Cardinal Zen participated in the Forum 2000 Conference in 2019 and spoke about Hong Kong and Its Future.