Zane is one of four high-profile pro-democracy activists arrested by police – the other three are Cantopp star Dennis Ho, former lawmaker Margaret Ng, and academician Hui Poe-kung, according to the State Department.
He was arrested on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces, according to a statement from the Hong Kong Police Force, which is charged under the city’s national security law.
The four were trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which was set up in June 2019 to provide financial assistance and legal advice to injured or arrested protesters. The fund came to a halt last year when the National Security Police announced they had begun investigating the source of the donation and whether its actions involved a breach of national security law.
Zen was a former Roman Catholic priest in Hong Kong. He is one of the most vocal critics of both the Hong Kong government and the city of Beijing, and is known among his supporters as “the conscience of Hong Kong.”
Reacting to Zen’s arrest, the Vatican said it was aware of the news with “concern” and was “closely following the evolution of the situation,” in a statement to CNN. Told
The arrests were also condemned by the United States and Europe.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said: “By arresting these veteran activists, clerics and religious leaders under the so-called National Security Act, Hong Kong authorities have once again shown that they are committed to dissent. We will take all necessary steps to suppress and reduce security rights and freedoms. ” Said in a press briefing on Wednesday.
The EU’s top diplomat, Giuseppe Borrell, said on Twitter that he was following developments with “great concern”. “Fundamental freedoms, as guaranteed by the Hong Kong Constitution and the Sino-British Joint Declaration, must be respected,” Borrell said.
Aaron Van Der Borgett, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific regional director, said in a statement that the arrests represented “a dramatic increase” in “deteriorating standards of recent Hong Kong repression” and the “fundamental rights” of Hong Kong authorities. Strictly ignores “. Of its citizens. “
The arrests came days after former police officer and security chief John Lee was elected Hong Kong’s next leader on Sunday.
They are the latest in a major crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement since the city enacted a controversial national security law in 2020. Since then, most of the city’s pro-democracy figures have been arrested or transferred to prisons. Deported, while many independent media and NGOs were shut down.
The Hong Kong government has repeatedly denied allegations that the law – which criminalizes separatism, insurgency, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces – has deprived liberties, and claims. That it has restored peace in the city after the 2019 protest movement.
CNN سوگم پوخھرلChristie Lou Stout, Sophie Jeong, Jennifer Dayton, Levia Burgess and Mia Alberti contributed to this report.