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Jimmy LaiAnthony Kwan / Getty Images

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — An American Catholic university has honored a human rights activist currently imprisoned by the Chinese government. 

This weekend, the Catholic University of America (CUA) awarded an honorary degree to media mogul Jimmy Lai. His son, Sebastien Lai, accepted the award on the father’s behalf.  

On May 12, Sebastien Lai told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo on “The World Over” that it “really means a lot to have the support of all these great people.” 

“I’m sure he’ll be very happy to receive this award, and I’m sure knowing that all these people are praying for him and knowing that all these people have the same thoughts towards freedom and freedom of religion, freedom of expression, will make him incredibly happy,” Sebastian Lai said. 

“Hong Kong used to be this island off the coast of China that had its own legal system and freedoms, and it just seems that these ideals keep getting degraded every single news cycle.” 


 74-year-old Jimmy Lai, a prominent Catholic human rights activist, has been arrested many times. Most recently, in December 2021, Lai was  arrested after police characterized his participation in a pro-democracy protest as “an act of defiance and protest against the police.” He was charged with unlawful assembly after attending an annual vigil at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square commemorating the 1989 massacre of protesters there. The activist was sentenced to 13 months in jail. 

In December 2020, he was arrested in Hong Kong; the Chinese communist regime accused him of fraud relating to the illicit use of his company’s property.  

This was his second arrest that year. Earlier, the authorities alleged that he had violated sections of the newly passed National Security Law. He was released on bail shortly after this first arrest but was denied bail on the new fraud charges. 

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Please SIGN this petition calling on Hong Kong leader John Lee to cease all intimidation of Cardinal Joseph Zen following his arrest for supporting pro-democracy demonstrators. 

Cardinal Joseph Zen, the Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, was arrested by the pro-China security police in Hong Kong in a major escalation of intimidation against pro-freedom activists in the region.

Zen was one of four people arrested on May 11th on suspicion of "colluding with foreign forces", with the 90-year-old's detention marking the first high-profile move by Hong Kong's new Chief Executive, John Lee.

The Hong Kong security police targeted Zen as a trustee of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which provided “legal, medical, psychological and emergency financial assistance” to those involved in the 2019 protests against the government’s Extradition Law Amendment Bill, which allows prisoners to be transferred to China for trial.

Cardinal Zen has since been released, but his passport was confiscated to prevent him leaving Hong Kong.

The arrest was made possible under the terms of Hong Kong’s draconian national security law, passed in 2020, which Zen warned would be used to silence the Church. 

The outspoken cardinal previously confessed that he was prepared to go to prison under the terms of the new law, saying, “If right and proper words were considered against their law, I will endure all the suing, trials, and arrests.”

Cardinal Zen is a hero to Hong Kongers, and needs the world to stand with him today. 

SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition calling on Hong Kong leader John Lee to cease all intimidation of Cardinal Zen today.

The people of Hong Kong, including Cardinal Zen, have lived under the shadow of Beijing since 1997, and know personally how oppressive Chinese Communist Party rule is.

This arrest of a Catholic cardinal by communist authorities in Hong Kong is a stark reminder of the harsh realities of life for all citizens of the region. 

Cardinal Zen's plight demands the attention of all people of good-will, as his spirit of resistance in the face of tyranny continues to inspire new generations of Hong Kongers to defy the horrors of communist rule.

Please stand with Cardinal Zen today - SIGN and SHARE this petition calling for an end to the intimidatory tactics of the Chinese Communist Party's proxy leaders in Hong Kong.


Cardinal Zen arrested in Hong Kong - LifeSiteNews

Cardinal Zen calls out Pope Francis for not answering dubia about ‘murder’ of Chinese Church - LifeSiteNews

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The CUA honors occurred shortly after Lai’s close friend, Cardinal Zen, was arrested by Hong Kong national security forces. Cardinal Zen, the Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, was taken into custody by Hong Kong police on May 11. He was released on bail some hours later.  

Just as it offered no support for married layman Jimmy Lai during his arrest, the Vatican has yet to condemn the Chinese government for their detainment of Cardinal Zen.  

Lai, who was baptized by Cardinal Zen, spoke of his conversion to Catholicism in 1997 during a video interview with the Napa Institute 

 “When you lift yourself above your own self-interest, you find the meaning of life,” he said. “You find you’re doing the right thing, which is so wonderful. It changed my life into a different thing.”  



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