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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 26.10.2012]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press, for the exclusive use of accredited journalists.


ZEN ZE-KIUN Card. Joseph, S.D.B.




Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, S.D.B., Bishop emeritus of Hong Kong (China), was born on 13 January 1932 in Yang King-pang, Shanghai, China. He was ordained a priest on 11 February 1961 for the Society of Don Bosco, the Salesian Order.

Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun served as a Salesian Provincial Superior for China for six years, and from 1989-96 he taught philosophy and sacramental theology in various Chinese seminaries.

On 13 September 1996 he was appointed Coadjutor of the diocese of Hong Kong, and on 23 September 2002 he was made Bishop of the diocese. He received episcopal ordination on 9 December 1996.

Attended the Special Assembly for Asia of the Synod of Bishops, Vatican City, April 29 to May 14, 1998; the 11th  Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Vatican City, October 2 to 23, 2005 and the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Vatican City, October 5 to 26, 2008.

During the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, he spoke on "Sensus ecclesiae and religious freedom", addressing the situation of the Church in China and of the signs of hope that the Church, after years of forced separation which had apparently "divided it in two", is a single Church headings towards a "normalization".

Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun has publicly stated that his appointment as a member of the College of Cardinals is a sign of the Holy Fatherís concern and affection for all of China.

Bishop emeritus of Hong Kong (China), 14 April 2009.

Created and proclaimed cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 24 March 2006, of the Title of Santa Maria Madre del Redentore a Tor Bella Monaca (St. Mary Mother of the Redeemer at Tor Bella Monaca).

Member of:

  • Special Council for Asia of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops.

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