On the arrest of Hong Kong Cardinal Zen and other democracy advocates
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and Ranking Member of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, today released the following statement on the recent arrest of Hong Kong Cardinal Zen and other democracy advocates:
“The arrest of Cardinal Joseph Zen and other democracy advocates by Hong Kong police is an egregious abuse of human rights and religious freedom that should chill freedom-loving people the world over. The persecution of Cardinal Zen, former opposition lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan, barrister Margaret Ng and activist singer Denise Ho must end now.
As the most senior Catholic cleric and a valiant defender of democracy in Hong Kong, 90-year-old Cardinal Zen has fought tirelessly for religious freedom and spoken out boldly against Beijing’s persecution of Christians on the mainland.
Sadly, his arrest—just days after Beijing loyalist John Lee became Hong Kong’s next leader—underscores the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) determination to eradicate the rule of law in once-free-and-democratic Hong Kong.
A former security chief who led a pro-democracy crackdown, Lee’s uncontested victory on Sunday as the ruling CCP’s candidate of choice underscores his willingness to be the communist regime’s executioner.
Criminalizing freedom of expression as ‘sedition,’ casting legitimate international engagement as ‘collusion with foreign forces,’ and suppressing people of faith for their religious, social and political beliefs is designed to make engagement with Hong Kong human rights and democracy leaders impossible, as the CCP is determined to make Hong Kong a de facto province of the People’s Republic of China.
The Holy See should raise its voice regarding this outrageous attack on the independence of the Church in Hong Kong and arrest of such a towering exemplar of courage and conscience.”