UK authorities ministers have condemned the arrest of Cardinal Joseph Zen and different pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong.
Minister of State for Europe and North America, James Cleverly, known as their arrests on Wednesday “unacceptable”.
“Freedom of expression and the precise to peaceable protest, that are protected in each the joint declaration and the essential regulation, are basic to Hong Kong’s lifestyle,” he mentioned, including that the UK “will proceed to talk out when China breaches its legally binding agreements and when it breaks its guarantees to the folks of Hong Kong”.
Cardinal Zen, 90, was arrested and charged with “collusion with overseas forces”. He was later launched on bail.
Talking within the Home of Lords, the Bishop of Southwark, Christopher Chessun, mentioned it was “an outrage” that Cardinal Zen had been arrested over his ties to the 612 Humanitarian Aid Fund. The charity helped to cowl authorized and medical bills for members of the pro-democracy motion earlier than it ceased operations in 2021.
The bishop pressed Lord Goldsmith “to state in his personal phrases, as clearly as potential, that that is completely unacceptable and additional undermines the rule of regulation in Hong Kong”, and requested the federal government minister to state what interventions have been being made to guard non secular freedom or perception within the territory.
In response, Lord Goldsmith mentioned that he “strongly” echoed the bishop’s feedback.
“What has occurred to Cardinal Zen is actually appalling on each conceivable stage,” he mentioned.
“It basically undermines each side of the settlement we reached with China on the handover and any sense of plurality or freedom of faith in Hong Kong.
“We’re dedicated to defending freedom of faith for all and selling respect between completely different non secular and non-religious communities.
“Freedom of expression, faith or perception is explicitly included within the joint declaration, which China agreed to uphold.
“China is in clear breach of that declaration. We’ve seen its use of the nationwide safety regulation to curtail freedoms and suppress any dissent.”