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Arrest of Cardinal Zen further evidence of Hong Kong suppression of democracy – Ward

12th May 2022 - Senator Barry Ward

A Fine Gael Senator has criticised the arrest of 90-year-old retired Cardinal Joseph Zen in Hong Kong who has been a strong advocate for the pro-democracy movement that was cracked down on in 2019.

This follows the recent farcical appointment of the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong, John Lee who, as a former security minister, has a long history of cracking down on the pro-democracy movement.

Speaking in the Seanad earlier this week Senator Ward said, “Ireland should also be taking a stand and acknowledging the fact that John Lee’s appointment or installation as Chief Executive is indeed not valid, democratic or desired.”

Lee, a former Secretary for Security of Hong Kong, has already been sanctioned by the United States in 2020, primarily because of his involvement in enforcing the appalling national security law that exists in Hong Kong, which essentially removes the right of anybody to get involved in political opposition or protest, an afront to human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Speaking in the Seanad today, Senator Ward called on Ireland to make it clear that this latest suppression of freedom of expression and democracy is unacceptable. “It’s another indication, as if we needed it, of the Hong Kong administration’s absolute determination to suppress any discussion, opposition, or political freedom of expression. It’s hugely important that Ireland takes a strong stand in opposition to this.”

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