Hong Kong court convicts and fines 90-year-old cardinal

(Photo: Unsplash/Joshua J Cotten)

The Catholic Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, Cardinal Zen, has been convicted by a court over charges relating to a now defunct fund that assisted pro-democracy protesters. 

The 90-year-old Cardinal was convicted along with five others by the Hong Kong court on Friday after being arrested in May on charges of supposedly colluding with foreign forces in his work with the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund. 

The six were found guilty of failing to properly register the charity, which was wound down last year. 

They were each fined 4,000 Hong Kong dollars ($512). 

Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom at Hudson Institute, said the conviction was "a taste of much worse legal trouble ahead for the Church". 

"The trial is likely to have silenced China's last globally prominent dissident. Zen's outspoken criticisms of the party were the desperate warnings of a hero trying to shake the world out of its ignorance and complacency," she wrote in the National Review.

"Aside from the occasional riot over Covid lockdowns and one-off protests that are quickly crushed, no prominent and sustained voice of dissent remains in the country. It is now up to us to speak out for China's voiceless."