RELIGION

Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, Hong Kong Cardinal, Arrested In Occupy Central Protest

Hong Kong's outspoken cardinal Joseph Zen speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong Thursday, April 9, 2009. Hong Kong's o
Hong Kong's outspoken cardinal Joseph Zen speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong Thursday, April 9, 2009. Hong Kong's outspoken cardinal Joseph Zen says China's religious freedom has been hindered by its state-controlled Catholic Church which resisted it for self-interest. His remarks came late Thursday as he hosted the last series of Easter Mass before his imminent retirement from head of the Hong Kong diocese next week. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, 82, surrendered to police during an Occupy Central protest in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

The cardinal joined Occupy Central founders Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man and Chu Yiu-ming who turned themselves in to "take responsibility" for what police have called "illegal" protests, BBC reported. The men remained just an hour at the police station, though officers told the protestors they would be invited back to the station at an appropriate time. As he left the premises Zen asked the people gathered outside to pray for democracy.

A former bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Zen has been a vocal proponent of the Occupy Central demonstrations initiated more than two months ago and even led a three-day pro-democracy march through the city in June. In September, the octogenarian spent a night outside in the public square with student protestors.

The cardinal reportedly wrote on his blog in November that in the fight for democracy a "miracle may take place, like David hurls a stone to hit down Goliath. And no one would expect that the Berlin Wall fell down all of a sudden 25 years ago."

Zen told America Magazine in October that his many days standing beside protestors have caused him concern about the situation in Hong Kong.

"The authorities celebrated the national holiday [on Oct. 1]... but they don’t seem to realize the seriousness of the situation or how angry the people of Hong Kong are," Zen said. "They seem to have no sense of what has happened in these days."

Zen went on to say he feared the situation might "get out of hand" -- a prediction that some might say has come true as the government began cracking down on demonstrations in November. Clashes broke out later that month when authorities destroyed an entire protest camp in the Mong Kok district.

On Dec. 1 student protestors stormed the central thoroughfare in the Admiralty district and tried to shut down government offices in what many have called the worst outburst of violence since the Occupy Central protests began. Police employed the use of batons and pepper spray in their arrests -- and at least 40 people were hospitalized in the chaos, Fortune reports.

"I ask people everywhere to pray for us," Zen told America Magazine in October, "as the situation in Hong Kong is dangerous right now, anything can happen."

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BEFORE YOU GO

  • An injury protester lies on the ground during a police operation to remove protesters near government headquarters in Hong Ko
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An injury protester lies on the ground during a police operation to remove protesters near government headquarters in Hong Kong
  • A protester lies on the stairway as police try to remove him and others from a tube station near government headquarters in H
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    A protester lies on the stairway as police try to remove him and others from a tube station near government headquarters in Hong Kong
  • Protesters cry as they are dispersed by police officers outside government headquarters
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    Protesters cry as they are dispersed by police officers outside government headquarters
  • A protester is arrested by police officers outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
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    A protester is arrested by police officers outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
  • Protesters are dispersed by police officers outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
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    Protesters are dispersed by police officers outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
  • Police officers beat up protesters as they try to disperse them outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
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    Police officers beat up protesters as they try to disperse them outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
  • Police officers disperse protesters outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
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    Police officers disperse protesters outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
  • A protester is chased by a police officer outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
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    A protester is chased by a police officer outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
  • A police officer warns protesters to leave the main road outside government headquarters
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    A police officer warns protesters to leave the main road outside government headquarters
  • A pro-democracy protester washes his face after being hit by pepper spray outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
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    A pro-democracy protester washes his face after being hit by pepper spray outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
  • Police officers throw a pro-democracy protester on the main road outside government headquarters
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    Police officers throw a pro-democracy protester on the main road outside government headquarters
  • Pro-democracy protesters scuffle with police officers on the main road outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong
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    Pro-democracy protesters scuffle with police officers on the main road outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong
  • Police officers clash with protesters outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
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    Police officers clash with protesters outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
  • Police officers clash with protesters outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Police officers clash with protesters outside government headquarters in Hong Kong
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