02/01/2023, 14.02
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Hong Kong’s Card Zen in hospital for breathing problems

His condition worsened after his Vatican visit for Pope Benedict XVI’s funeral. He asks everyone not to worry about his health. Police is still investigating him over alleged threats to national security.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Card Joseph Zen Ze-kiun has been in hospital for more than a week with breathing problems. The prelate, who entered the facility on 22 January for tests, made the announcement on his blog.

The city's 91-year-old bishop emeritus said that he felt unwell even before le travelled to the Vatican for the funeral of Pope Benedict XVI in early January, where he also had a private audience with Pope Francis.

In his blog, he addresses prison detainees, saying that he was unable to visit them recently. He also thanks the doctors and nuns caring for him, and urged everyone not to worry about his condition.

Card Zen’s health began to deteriorate soon after returning to Hong Kong. For 10 days he could not leave the seminary where he was staying.

On the night of the first day of the Lunar New Year, he started to have breathing problems; previously, in 2016 he spent three weeks in hospital with pulmonary problems.

Still, in his blog, the cardinal writes that the four-day trip to the Vatican was "joyous, but also painful.” Despite his ailments, he wanted to show respect and affection for Benedict XVI on behalf of the faithful of Hong Kong and China.

Since he was under investigation for allegedly breaching national security legislation, he needed a court order to retrieve his passport.

On 25 November, the West Kowloon Court had fined him HK$ 4,000 (US$ 510) because he had been a trustee of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund. Disbanded in the fall of 2021, the latter had helped thousands of pro-democracy activists involved in the 2019 protests.

On 11 May, police arrested the cardinal and four other trustees (who were also fined) on the most serious charge of collusion with foreign forces, an offence covered by the draconian security law imposed by mainland China in the summer of 2020.

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