Pope Francis is asking Catholics to join him in praying for the faithful in China.
Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun and several others pleaded not guilty in a Hong Kong court to charges of failing to properly register a now-defunct fund to help anti-government protesters.
One of Asia’s top Catholic cardinals said the arrest of Cardinal Joseph Zen is a cause of concern “about the situation for human rights and threats to religious freedom in Hong Kong.”
Cardinal Joseph Zen, retired bishop of Hong Kong, reassured Catholics he is fine after being detained and held by national security police for his support of anti-government protesters.
The U.S. State Department has condemned the arrest of Cardinal Joseph Zen and others by Hong Kong police on May 11 as the latest example that the city’s authorities “will pursue all means necessary to stifle dissent and undercut protected rights and freedoms.”
Hong Kong’s national security police have detained Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, retired archbishop of Hong Kong, along with former opposition lawmaker Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee and singer Denise Ho Wan-sze, for allegedly colluding with foreign forces.
Although the world knows that the Dalai Lama lives in exile and is the face of Chinese repression in Tibet, and the media has shone a light on the persecution suffered by the Uyghurs in the Muslim region of Xinjiang, the “relentless, albeit silent, control” Christians suffer in China also deserves attention, according to experts speaking in Rome.
Pope Francis, in a video message recorded on their bishop’s cellphone, encouraged Catholics in Hong Kong and in mainland China to be strong in the face of challenges, to be good citizens and to pray for him as he prays for them.
The “true gold medal” at the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games goes to everything that helps the global community be more welcoming and accepting of all people, Pope Francis said.
Chongli, a popular resort town and venue for the main skiing events during the upcoming Winter Olympics, holds a history of persecution and massacre of Catholics in the region during the imperial and communist regimes.