The Pope is worried about Christians in China. A Beijing-critical cardinal from Hong Kong is threatened with legal proceedings after his temporary arrest: he had supported activists in the mass demonstrations in 2019.
After the arrest of a cardinal in Hong Kong, Pope Francis prayed for the faithful in China. "I follow the lives and often complex events of the faithful and priests with respect and sympathy and pray for them every day," said the head of the Catholic Church after the traditional Marian prayer Regina Caeli in front of numerous believers on St. Peter's Square in Rome. He invites prayer so that the Church in China can live in freedom and tranquility in active fellowship with the universal Church and carry out its mission of preaching the Gospel to all, the 85-year-old explained further.
On May 11, the Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, was arrested. The Holy See expressed concern about the incident. Zen was later released on bail. The travel documents were taken away from him and other suspects. The 90-year-old is accused of violating the controversial national security law.
Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin - number two in the Vatican - called the arrest "extremely unfortunate" according to "Vatican News". The Vatican agreed a deal with Beijing in 2018 to appoint bishops in China that would expire on October 22, 2022. Parolin saw no danger in this, but hoped that the path of dialogue between the Holy See and China would not become even more complicated.
The 90-year-old Zen is one of the highest-ranking representatives of the Catholic Church in the financial metropolis of Hong Kong and is considered a critic of the government in Beijing. Those arrested included pop singer and activist Denise Ho. All four suspects were administrators of a now-defunct relief fund that provided financial support to protesters arrested during the mass protests in 2019. The so-called security law, which came into force in July 2020, allows the authorities to take draconian action against all activities that they believe threaten China's national security.