Why is 90-year-old Cardinal Zen standing trial in Hong Kong? | News

Political activist Alex Chow has not forgotten the kindness of Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, the retired head of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong, who came around him when he was behind bars 5 years in the past.

Cardinal Zen has lengthy been recognized for his work as a jail chaplain. On the day Chow met him on the Pik Uk correctional centre, a most safety jail in Hong Kong’s New Territories, the aged priest had taken a public minibus to the jail, some 40 minutes journey into the hills from the densely-packed metropolis.

The 2 talked for 45 minutes, “possibly an hour”, with the jail officer giving up his seat so Zen, then in his mid-80s, may sit down.  For Chow, jailed for his function within the peaceable 2014 Occupy Hong Kong protests, the cardinal was a supply of consolation and reassurance and a much-needed connection to the skin world.

“It meant lots to me,” Chow, who was later launched on bail forward of the attraction he finally received, advised Al Jazeera. “I may see his real concern for others and staunch opposition to injustice. I felt like I used to be genuinely in his prayers and one of many folks he cared about.”

The 90-year-old former head of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong now faces a trial of his personal.

On Monday he’ll face court docket with 5 others, together with standard Cantopop singer and LGBTQ activist Denise Ho, and lawyer Margaret Ng over a now-defunct fund that they set as much as assist pay the authorized charges of individuals dealing with trial in relation to the 2019 protests.

They had been arrested in early Could underneath the Nationwide Safety Legislation and accused of “colluding with international forces”.

Launched on bail, they had been charged on Could 24 with failing to register the fund.

From left, Hong Kong scholar Hui Po-keung, Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen, barrister Margaret Ng and singer Denise Ho arrive for an appearance at a court in Hong Kong
Cardinal Zen was leaning on a strolling stick for help as he arrived in court docket with fellow defendants – scholar Hui Po-keung, left, lawyer Margaret Ng and singer Denise Ho – in Could [File: Kin Cheung/AP Photo]

All have pleaded not responsible and, within the 5 days allotted for proceedings, their defence is predicted to argue that the group had a proper to affiliate underneath Hong Kong’s Primary Legislation, the mini-constitution that has been in place for the reason that British handed the territory over to China in 1997.

Beijing imposed the safety regulation in June 2020.

“The Chinese language authorities needs to chop off all types of organizing and solidarity that run outdoors of the Communist Occasion’s management in Hong Kong,” William Nee, analysis and advocacy coordinator at Chinese language Human Rights Defenders, mentioned in an emailed response to questions. “The truth that Cardinal Zen is compassionate, caring, and well-respected in Hong Kong truly makes him a risk to the ruling authorities.”

Vatican criticised

Zen was ordained in 1996 and named Bishop of Hong Kong in 2002, changing into the chief of the territory’s Catholics, now numbering greater than 400,000. In 2006, in a ceremony in Rome, he was made a cardinal by Pope Benedict.

All through his profession, Zen has proven help for democratic reform and giving the folks of Hong Kong extra say of their authorities. He held a “walkathon” for common suffrage, lots in remembrance of the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Sq. and visited the Occupy Hong Kong website to supply ethical help to the hundreds who had gathered there.

After his retirement in 2009, Zen turned extra essential of Beijing, which broke off relations with the Vatican in 1951 and created its personal Communist Occasion-led Chinese language Patriotic Catholic Affiliation. He has been particularly essential of a 2018 deal underneath which Pope Francis recognised seven bishops appointed by Beijing, which was presupposed to deliver the mainland’s Catholics, thought to quantity about 12 million, collectively.

“Cardinal Zen made the final word self-sacrifice,” Andreas Fulda, creator of The Battle for Democracy in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, advised Al Jazeera in emailed feedback. “Deep down he will need to have recognized that the dictatorship in Beijing would by no means budge. Undeterred he advocated for Christians in mainland China. Firmly dedicated to the precept of non-violence he was a part of an influential ecumenical alliance of religion leaders advocating for liberal democracy in Hong Kong.”

Pope Benedict XVI (L) gives the ring to new cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun during a Holy Mass in St. Peter Square, Saturday 25 March 2006 i
Zen turned the pinnacle of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong in 2002 and was made a cardinal by Pope Benedict in March 2006 [File: Ettore Ferrari/EPA]

The Catholic Church has been criticised for failing to take a firmer stand over Zen’s arrest and trial.

After he was charged on Could 24, pictured strolling into court docket leaning closely on a stick, the church launched a brief assertion noting that he had pleaded not responsible and that it will “carefully monitor” occasions.

“Cardinal Zen is all the time in our prayers and we invite all to hope for the Church,” it concluded.

On Thursday, when the pope was requested about spiritual freedom in China and Zen’s looming trial, he mentioned that whereas it was “not simple to know the Chinese language mentality”, it needed to be “revered”, in accordance with a report in Catholic Information.

On Zen, he mentioned: “He says what he feels and we see that there are limitations [in Hong Kong]”.

The pope, who spoke as he flew house from the Congress of Leaders of World and Conventional Religions in Kazakhstan, added that he most well-liked to “select the trail of dialogue”.

Reviews mentioned China’s President Xi Jinping, who was additionally on the assembly, refused an invite for talks with the pope as a result of his schedule was full.

‘Objective of life’

Zen’s trial is the newest in reference to the 2019 protests, which started with mass marches in opposition to a proposed invoice that might permit extradition to the mainland and, amid a perceived lack of motion from the federal government and heavy-handed police techniques, advanced into typically violent calls for for extra democracy within the Chinese language-ruled territory.

The group arrange the 612 Humanitarian Aid Fund in July 2019, naming it after the primary severe confrontation between protesters and police the earlier month outdoors the barricaded constructing of the Legislative Council the place politicians had been as a consequence of debate the contentious invoice. Police used rubber-coated bullets and tear fuel in opposition to protesters, and dozens had been arrested.

They wound up the fund in October final 12 months after police introduced that it was underneath investigation.

The fund’s closure, and the trial of those that based it, may also have repercussions for the hundreds dealing with expenses from the 2019 protests whose authorized prices may run into the tons of of hundreds of Hong Kong {dollars}.

CHRD’s Nee mentioned the shortage of funding choices may undermine these defendants’ proper to a good trial.

“It was potential earlier than to crowdsource a few of these prices however by slicing off the power to take action, Beijing will make it way more troublesome for folks to afford the authorized sources to mount a strong defence,” he famous.

Zen has been out on bail pending trial.

At his first public look after his arrest, he addressed the Salesian Vocations Workplace (China Province) about his motivations in life and why he had entered the priesthood.

He famous that the world was “chaotic” and that some had been pushed by the necessity to pursue “cash, wealth, and energy” however he believed life meant studying what it means to be an individual of integrity, crammed with a way of justice and kindness.

“That is the aim of life,” the retired bishop mentioned.

Regardless of his longstanding help for democratic reform, Zen had largely averted any backlash from the authorities.

After the bishop’s arrest, newly-installed Hong Kong chief John Lee, a former police officer and safety chief, mentioned the arrest was not associated to Zen’s background or beliefs, however that individuals who broke the regulation wanted to be held to account.

For Chow, now residing in america, the choice to arrest and prosecute a person many in Hong Kong regard because the territory’s “ethical conscience” is additional proof of how a lot the territory has modified.

“Him being prosecuted is telling,” he mentioned. “It actually exhibits how the Hong Kong authorities has shifted its mentality [and] the longer term trajectory of the way it may method spiritual freedom or political speech; whether or not Hong Kong will stay a free society or whether or not that’s lengthy gone.”

Japan’s fearsome super-typhoon: All you need to know | Explainer News

Storm Nanmadol has the potential to be probably the most damaging storm to strike Japan in a long time.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals in southern Japan have been ordered to evacuate as a super-typhoon bears down on the area.

Japan’s climate company issued a uncommon “particular warning” about Storm Nanmado with level-four evacuation directions – the second highest – in place for individuals in Kagoshima, Kumamoto and Miyazaki within the southern Kyushu area.

The storm made landfall late on Sunday. Right here is the newest:

What’s a super-typhoon?

  • Nanmadol was labeled as a super-typhoon by the US Navy’s Joint Storm Warning Centre (JTWC), which means it has the potential to be probably the most damaging tropical storm to strike Japan in a long time.
  • JTWC locations typhoons into 5 classes utilizing one-minute sustained winds to find out which class a storm falls into.
  • It designates tropical storms with sustained winds of 240 kilometres per hour (150mph) or larger as super-typhoons. Such climate techniques are the equal of a Class 4 or 5 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale.

How many individuals are affected?

  • Native authorities have ordered 4 million individuals dwelling on Kyushu island to evacuate.
  • In Kagoshima prefecture, greater than 9,000 residents took shelter at evacuation centres.
  • In neighbouring Miyazaki prefecture, one other 4,700 individuals have been moved away from the super-typhoon.
This Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 satellite image released by NASA shows Typhoon Nanmadol, which is approaching southwest Japan.
A satellite tv for pc picture from NASA exhibits Storm Nanmadol approaching southwest Japan [File: AP Photo]

What areas will probably be affected?

  • The Japan Meteorological Company (JMA) warned residents within the affected space of flooding, landslides, in addition to “unprecedented” ranges of highly effective winds and waves, and urged them to evacuate early.
  • JMA stated southern Kyushu may obtain 400mm (16 inches) of rain over the subsequent 24 hours and wind gusts of as much as 235kmph (145mph) whereas the central Tokai area may get 300mm (12 inches) of rain.
  • Nanmadol is forecast to show east and attain Tokyo on Tuesday.
  • The storm will curve east and go over Japan’s predominant island of Honshu earlier than shifting out to sea by Wednesday.
Fishing boats
Fishing boats are moored at a port in Minamata, Kumamoto prefecture [Yuichi Yamazaki/AFP]

How has the storm affected day by day life?

  • Kyushu Electrical Energy Co stated greater than 93,000 properties throughout the island are with out electrical energy due to harm to energy strains and services.
  • Public transport, together with trains and buses, in Kagoshima and Miyazaki was suspended.
  • Railway operators stated bullet trains on Kyushu weren’t working.
  • Comfort retailer chain 7-Eleven shut down 950 retailers, and Toyota Motor Corp stated it can idle manufacturing at three factories.
  • A whole bunch of home flights out and in of the area have been cancelled.
  • Extra flights are deliberate to be grounded in western Japan by means of Tuesday because the super-typhoon heads northeast, in response to Japan Airways and All Nippon Airways.