Hong Kong Court Convicts Cardinal Zen And Five Others Guilty

According to foreign media reports on November 25, the 90-year-old Hong Kong Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen and five other protestors were all tried on the same day by a Hong Kong CCP-controlled court. The court convicted them as guilty and fined them thousands of Hong Kong dollars each for failing to register the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund to the Hong Kong authorities. The disbanded 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund aimed to fund part of the legal and medical costs of those arrested during the 2019 large-scale pro-democracy protests.

Cardinal Joseph Zen is a retired bishop and a pro-democracy figure in Hong Kong. On the day he was tried, he appeared in court using a walking stick. Cardinal Zen, singer Denise Ho, scholar Hui Po Keung, and former pro-democracy legislators Margaret Ng and Cyd Ho are trustees of the fund. They were each fined HK$4,000. The sixth defendant, Sze Ching Wee, the fund’s secretary, was fined HK$2,500. It is reported that the Societies Ordinance requires local organizations to register or apply for exemption within one month of the establishment. Failure to do so faces a fine of up to HK$10,000 upon conviction but those fined will not go to jail.

Analysts pointed out that Cardinal Zen was arrested in May for the first time on suspicion of conspiring with foreign forces under the national security law enforced by Beijing. His arrest shocked the Catholic community. At that time, the Vatican said it would monitor the situation closely. However, although Cardinal Zen and other activists involved in the trial have yet to be convicted of charges related to national security, they are still charged with illegal fundraising. These charges are just another convenient excuse that the Chinese Communist Party uses.

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