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07/15/2022 Hong Kong (International Christian Concern) – A protest began on Thursday, July 14, in front of Shek Pik prison in Hong Kong for the release of pro-democracy activists who were detained under the draconian National Security Act. Fr. Franco Mella, a missionary to Hong Kong, told the media that he would go on a hunger strike for three days, despite the scorching heat.  

 Fr. Mella has participated in political protests before. Last January, he joined other leading Catholic voices in calling for amnesty for the imprisoned Catholic publishing magnate Jimmy Lai and other public figures imprisoned for “violating the security law.” 

In 2019, he participated in the pro-democracy demonstrations that brought about Beijing’s severe crackdown.  

The Chinese central government imposed the National Security Law two years ago, and it has led to the arrest of nearly 200 people. In addition to the arrests, several pro-democracy parties and groups disbanded with the introduction of the measure, many independent media closed down or moved abroad, and thousands of people fled the city. 

In May, the National Security Police also arrested Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, bishop emeritus of the city and a well-known supporter of the democracy movement. The initial charge was serious: ‘collusion’ with foreign forces. A court then sent Card. Zen and five well-known members of the democratic front for the less serious charge of failing to properly register a humanitarian fund of which they were trustees. The trial against them will begin on 19 September. 

Please pray for those in Hong Kong who are suffering under these oppressive laws.

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