Friday, August 28, 2020

Jimmy Lai Arrested, a Blow to Catholic Dissidents in Mainland China

There are various reasons why Catholic millionaire and philanthropist Jimmy Lai has been arrested on August 10 in Hong Kong.

First, the CCP wants to show to the citizens of Hong Kong and the world that the new National Security Law will be strictly enforced against anybody who dares criticize the Party. Social status, popularity, philanthropy will be no protection against the law. You criticize the CCP, you go to jail, period.

Second, the CCP signals that independent media in Hong Kong are no longer tolerated.  Jimmy Lai owns the Apple Daily, a thorn in the side of Beijing. After boycotts by advertisers threatened by the CCP, and daily cyberattacks by hackers did not persuade the newspaper to change its pro-democracy stance, its owner has been arrested.

Third, and less prominent in the international media coverage of the event, Jimmy Lai’s arrest is a message to the Hong Kong Catholic Church, and a blow to the Catholic conscientious objectors in Mainland China, those bishops, priests and lay Catholics who refuse to join the government-controlled Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA). After the Vatican-China deal of 2018, Catholics in China are allowed and even encouraged by the Holy See to join the CPCA. However, the Vatican Guidelines of 2019 recommends that conscientious objectors who refuse to join the CPCA for reasons of principle be “respected.” This is not happening, and conscientious objectors are harassed and thrown in jail.


I had not realized Jimmy Lai was Catholic, more idiot me. And such a charming story, too. Is the Pope actually communist, or just an ineffectual opponent of it? Too bad, whichever. I miss John Paul with all my heart.

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