The son of imprisoned Hong Kong civil rights activist Jimmy Lai will receive an honorary degree on his father’s behalf at The Catholic University of America this weekend.
Arrested several times in pro-democracy protests against the Chinese Communist Party, the 74-year-old media executive has been imprisoned since April 2021 under a new national security law that accuses him of “collusion with foreign powers.”
His son, Sebastien Lai, said his father knows he will be receiving the award on his behalf at Saturday morning’s commencement in Washington, D.C.
“My dad has great faith in his friends and knows folks are seeking to help. Dad made the call to stay, he is at peace with that decision, but it doesn’t mean he accepts a lack of justice,” Sebastien Lai told The Washington Times.
The decision to honor the elder Mr. Lai, whose Apple Daily newspaper was raided and closed by Chinese officials last year, comes as national security forces this week detained Cardinal Joseph Zen, Hong Kong’s retired Catholic archbishop.
A university press release states that Cardinal Zen, a close ally of Jimmy Lai in protests against China’s recent free speech crackdowns on the former British colony, baptized him in 1997.