ROME – On Monday, the trial against Chinese Cardinal Joseph Zen and five other defendants formally opened in Hong Kong, initiating highly controversial proceedings that could end in heavy fines or jail time, and which has been widely criticized as an attack against democracy.
Zen, 90, and five others were arrested in May under a Beijing-imposed national security law for allegedly colluding with foreign forces.
Specifically, they are charged with failing to apply for local society registration for the now defunct 612 Humanitarian Fund between July 16, 2019, and Oct. 31, 2021. The fund, for which they all held leadership positions, provided financial and legal aid to pro-democracy protesters who took to the streets in 2019 to oppose a controversial bill allowing extradition to mainland China.
In addition to Zen, others on trial include Barrister Margaret Ng; Singer-Activist Denise Ho; Cultural studies scholar Hui Po-keung; Ex-legislator Cyd Ho; and Activist Sze…