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In Hong Kong, an American Priest Turned Attorney Faces China’s Wrath but Retains the Faith

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HONG KONG—In the 1960s, John Clancey was sent to Hong Kong from a small town in New York condition to be a priest ministering to the city’s working poor. He stayed and in the long run turned himself into an advocate for the city’s powerless people today.

Far more than half a century later, the attorney faces several years in prison for his job in the pro-democracy motion in his adopted house.

Mr. Clancey was 1 of dozens of activists arrested in very last week’s roundup of opposition figures—the greatest since Beijing imposed a national stability law on Hong Kong six months back. Police accused these qualified of subversion following holding an unofficial major election very last year as section of a prepare to gain a legislative majority and derail authorities coverage.

Through an interview at his business in downtown Hong Kong, Mr. Clancey, 79 several years outdated, confirmed that he was arrested simply because he served as treasurer for a professional-democracy team that helped arrange the primaries. Now a attorney, Mr. Clancey is the very first American detained underneath the new legislation, underscoring its wide attain and authorities’ willingness to wield it on locals and foreigners alike.

Law enforcement confiscated his American passport pursuing his arrest, Mr. Clancey said, although he believes he doesn’t have earned any specific procedure as a U.S. citizen. A spokesman for the U.S. Consulate declined to remark on his situation, citing privateness regulations. A Hong Kong government spokeswoman referred to earlier statements saying the town would safeguard countrywide safety and “not tolerate any offense of subversion.”

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