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Hong Kong police arrested a Roman Catholic cardinal and several others accused of colluding with foreign forces on Wednesday.
The arrested include Cardinal Joseph Zen singer-actress Denise Ho, lawyer Margaret Ng and scholar Hui Po-keung, according to Hong Kong Watch. Each of the individuals was arrested for allegedly supporting protests against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) destruction of Democracy in Hong Kong.
“We condemn the arrests of these activists whose supposed crime was funding legal aid for pro-democracy protestors back in 2019,” Hong Kong Watch said in a statement. “Today’s arrests signal beyond a doubt that Beijing intends to intensify its crackdown on basic rights and freedoms in Hong Kong. We urge the international community to shine a light on this brutal crackdown and call for the immediate release of these activists.”
The arrests come days after CCP loyalist John Lee became mayor of Hong Kong. Lee was elected with 99% of the vote from the Beijing-controlled election committee, which has 1,500 members.
“I look forward to all of us starting a new chapter together, building a Hong Kong that is caring, open and vibrant, and a Hong Kong that is full of opportunities and harmony,” Lee said in his victory speech on Sunday.
Lee was the only candidate listed in the polls, and China imposed new electoral laws on Hong Kong last year to ensure that only “patriots” loyal to the CCP could run for office.
The Chinese government congratulated Lee on winning a “fair, just and orderly manner in accordance with laws and regulations.”
“Lee received many nominations and was elected with a high number of 1,416 votes. This is not only the solemn choice of the election committee, but also a strong expression of public opinion,” the CCP said in a statement.
The Catholic Church has yet to release a statement on Zen’s arrest.