Thursday, May 12, 2022

Behold the state of Hong Kong: where a 90 year old Cardinal and other trustees of a humanitarian relief fund stand accused of being national security threats!

Cardinal Joseph Zen showing support for the people,
and being cheered back in turn in the summer of 2019
So many terrible things have happened in Hong Kong in recent years (e.g., police attacks of pro-democracy protestors in 2019, China's imposing a national security law on Hong Kong in 2020 and the mass arrest of pro-democracy figures last year) that many people have become resigned to bad and worse developments occuring over the horizon.  Still, what happened yesterday really shocked many of us; not least because it looked to have taken the prosecution of advocates of democracy in Hong Kong to another upsetting level.
Apart from having been a professor who mentored the likes of Nathan Law (Lingnan University class of 2018), Hui also was a trustee of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund set up to provide humanitarian and relevant financial support to persons injured, arrested, attacked or threatened with violence during the anti-extradition bill protests (and did help a whole lot of people before it ceased operations on October 31st of last year).  And with the arrests of three other of the fund's former trustees later in the day, it became clear that the authorities had decided to go after people associated with this fund.
Here's the shocker: one of the fund's former trustees arrested yesterday evening was 90-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen.  And the charge thrown at him was "conspiracy to collude with foreign powers": a national security law offence.  Tell me: In what universe -- other than Hong Kong's crazed one -- can a 90-year-old man who happens to be a Cardinal be seriously considered a national security threat?!

Here are two other shockers: the two other 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund trustees arrested yesterday were eminent lawyer Margaret Ng -- who, more than by the way, is 74 years of age -- and singer-activist Denise Ho -- whose 45th birthday it was this past Wednesday.  Granted that Margaret Ng and Denise Ho have been arrested before; but their being charged with national security crimes (along with Hui Po-keung and Cardinal Zen) takes the seriousness quotient up several notches.
Perhaps because they didn't want too much of an international furor around these arrests, the police released Cardinal Zen, Margaret Ng, Denise Ho and Hui Po-keung on bail late last night (rather than deny bail to them the way that it's happened to many any other person accused of having broken the national security law -- including the bulk of the 47 politicians and activists arrested for organizing or taking part in the democratic primaries of July 2020).  But do not think for even a moment that the authorities are backing off in their prosecution and persecution of people associated with the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund. 

A comment by Samuel Bickett in the wake of this news that says so much about the situation in Hong Kong: "Among lawyers in Hong Kong, a popular topic of conversation has long been when—not if—the police state would begin imprisoning lawyers for taking on sensitive clients."  And of course people have been moved to wonder if the police also plan to go after the (tens, maybe even hundreds of) thousands of the fund's donors?!


Unknown said...

I remember when Carrie said the NSL would only affect a handful of people. And that it was not retroactive. Just the usual lies which we are sadly getting used to.

YTSL said...

Hi "Unknown" --

Yes, indeed. Many of us remember and will not forget.