Cardinal Zen appears in Hong Kong court after arrest by Chinese Communist Party

Cardinal Joseph Zen, former archbishop of Hong Kong, appeared in court Tuesday after his unceremonious arrest by Chinese Communist Party officials.

According to Catholic News Agency, the 90-year-old cardinal, who was arrested with four other pro-democracy advocates, was a trustee of a relief fund used to bail out protesters and pay legal fees.

The five arrestees are charged with not registering the charity with the government. All five have submitted pleas of not guilty.

Zen is set to stand trial on Sept. 19. He has stated he plans to celebrate a Catholic Mass on May 24 in honour of Our Lady, Help of Christians.

The cardinal was arrested last week alongside a group of other freedom activists in the Chinese island city. Zen has repeatedly warned the Vatican of increasing government persecution of religious minorities and anti-communist public figures but has historically received next to no response.

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