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Catholic World News

Cardinal Zen answers rumors on major-donor ties

October 20, 2011

Cardinal Joseph Zen has vigorously defended himself against media reports that he received large sums of money from a powerful Hong Kong business leader.

Cardinal Zen acknowledged that he has received $2.5 million from Jimmy Lai, one of Hong Kong’s wealthiest residents. But the cardinal says that he passed along the funds to needy Catholic dioceses in mainland China. Jimmy Lai is a recent convert to Catholicism, and like Cardinal Zen he has been critical of the Beijing government’s attempts to stifle independent religious activity on the mainland.

The rumors about Cardinal Zen’s finances appeared—perhaps not coincidentally—as the retired Bishop of Hong Kong embarked on a hunger strike as a public protest against new policies that will, he charges, allow the government to exert control over the Catholic schools of Hong Kong.


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