We cull here primarily from the Wall Street Journal and from the BBC, all links are included below for more robust reading.
Today, three years after his arrest by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) who now rule Hong Kong, devout Catholic and successful, wealthy news mogul Jimmy Lai was arrested. He faces life in prison if found guilty of the trumped up charges against him. He is not allowed to have his own lawyers at the trial, none from outside the CCP domain, and his fate will not be determined by a jury of peers—as it would have been under Hong Kong law before the CCP took over. Instead, his “case” will be heard before three CCP judges.
Lai knows the reality and gravity of the situation. He knew long before he was imprisoned.
What is remarkable is his clear, unwavering faith. And that of his wife and children who have not been arrested.
“Jimmy is blessed to have a wife, Teresa, every bit as strong as he is,” writes Lai’s godfather William “Bill” McGurn, longtime Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Opinion Columnist and a member of the WSJ editorial board. “Teresa told Jimmy when he was arrested that she knew that moment might come the day she married him. Her message: Jimmy, I am your wife, and I will walk this journey with you every step of the way. But you must pick up your cross and embrace it.”
Behind prison walls
“Since Jimmy’s arrest, Cardinal Zen has visited him as often as he can. It isn’t well known, but several of those jailed in Hong Kong for pro-democracy activities have been baptized,” reports McGurn.
“These days Jimmy spends much of his time cultivating his new vocation as a Christian artist,” continues Jimmy’s godfather. “He’s pretty good, too, even limited to drawing in pencil on regular, lined paper. Over time the authorities came to see this as a threat and so no longer allow him to share his prison artwork with visitors and correspondents.”
Jimmy is a calm, unwavering witness for Truth, for a greater purpose and calling than mere mortals could imagine on their own, for the Kingdom of Christ in its fullness and glory.
He chose to stay: Why?
Lai is wealthy. Hundreds of millions of dollars wealthy. He and his family could easily have fled Hong Kong when the CCP took over in 1997, or anytime after that. Many people did. There’s no shame in escaping a vile dragon, hell-bent on crushing individuality and human freedom.
But Jimmy chose to stay. He and his wife chose to stay in Hong Kong; to live their Catholic Faith in their beloved Hong Kong, to stand up for freedom and human dignity in their own backyard.
His reasons for staying? You’ll see in the short video clip below, most of which is from an interview with Jimmy Lai at the Napa Institute shortly before his arrest. I’ve personally watched this video numerous times. It floods one’s heart with clarity and courage for what matters most..
Some of Lai’s friends and acquaintances remain baffled by his decision to stay, points out McGurn. Some have even turned on him. Lai’s response? Forgiveness.
Short Video below shows clips of Jimmy Lai’s reasons for staying in Hong Kong, risking arrest — INSPIRING!
- The Faith and Witness of Jimmy Lai — Bill McGurn, Wall Street Journal
- Jimmy Lai: Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon’s trial begins — BBC
- Film Review of “The Hong Konger”: Jimmy Lai’s Moral Heroism — Catholic Business Journal