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Cardinal Zen’s arrest: A turning point in the relationship between the Catholic Church and China?

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I.Media for Aleteia - published on 05/14/22 - updated on 05/14/22

The arrest of the pro-democracy Cardinal Zen raises many questions about the Catholic Church's strategy to improve relations with China.

Arrested and then released on bail on May 11, 2022, the nonagenarian Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of the enclave of Hong Kong, appears – more than ever before – to be the incarnation of Hong Kong’s resistance to Beijing’s increasingly tight hold. His indictment by the local judiciary for “collusion with a foreign power” is causing great “concern” on the part of the Vatican, which has worked – with difficulty – for a rapprochement with the People’s Republic of China in recent years.

Cardinal Zen was accused along with four other members of the board of the “612 Humanitarian Relief Fund,” an association originally aimed at financing pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong. “The individuals are suspected of conspiracy and collusion with foreign countries or foreign forces to endanger national security – an act of a serious nature,” the Commissioner’s Office, the Beijing Foreign Ministry’s representation in Hong Kong, said in a statement.

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