Meet the self-made billionaire who sacrifices everything for God
In Hong Kong right now, Jimmy Lai is sacrificing everything – his fortune and perhaps his life – for his God, his neighbor and for freedom.
Lai is a billionaire, although he hasn’t always been. Born two years before the communists defeated the nationalists during the civil war in China, his father fled and his mother was sent to a labor camp. when he was a young child. Transport bags for train passengers and make it out as a street vendor he first tasted freedom when a man from British Hong Kong he gave him a chocolate bar.
Lai is a British citizen, although he has not always been. Having had a glimpse of prosperity and freedom, he chased it to the then free British island colony, boarding a ship when he was only 12 years old years old and working on the floor of a clothing factory.
Lai is Catholic, although he hasn’t always been. He met the faith through his wife, a pious woman whom he accompanied to church, where he heard the homilies of Cardinal Joseph Zen and in 1997 was baptized in the church by the same great man.
Today, Lai is in a prison cell in Hong Kong, and the Communist dictatorship has once again taken over one of his life’s works, shutting down his newspaper. But of all that has changed since he was a young boy, the persecution by the Communists has remained a constant. If you stay true to your faith, in China there is no way around it. “I have a soul” he said at the beginning of 2019, and so the truth dwells in him.
“No one can say we didn’t fight… Life in prison is the pinnacle of my life. I am completely at peace.
Lai’s path to success in Hong Kong has begun on the floor of a garment factory. He quickly rose to his feet and eventually joined the management. He saved his money, invested in the stock market, and used the profits to buy a factory and start making clothes for middle-class consumers.
After the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 4, 1989, where peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators were trapped, plunged into darkness, run over and shot down by tanks, Lai sacrificed his stake in his mainland business by printing and selling pro-democracy shirts and launching a tabloid magazine that covered scandals and corruption within the party.
Undeterred by his loss, and still a very wealthy man, Lai has devoted his time and fortune to fighting their evil, durable arrest, persecution, fire bombing, car attacks and intimidation for it. Last week, he was arrested again, and his and his company’s finances were seized under the auspices of China’s new “National Security Law”.
Stories of his self-taught riches and pro-democracy bravery dot the corporate media, but unless you dig into the columns of those who met him or read Christian news sources, you might be missing out on what motivates and strengthens him in the face of an immense and implacable enemy. You’d miss why a serial entrepreneur who has spent their life building and creating is willing to give it their all, and you’d miss the truth behind why.
“The Communists”, he said Economic Strategy Institute President Clyde Berkowitz “thinks they can buy and / or intimidate everyone, create their own reality and write their own story. Effectively, they assume the role of God. They are sort of a religion or an anti-religion.
“They have the initiation into the feast as a kind of baptism. They have self-criticism as a kind of confession of sins, re-education as a kind of penance, and elevation to the rank of party heroes as a kind of holiness. And, of course, at least Mao [Zedong] has a kind of eternal life like a smiling photo in Tiananmen Square and like an embalmed corpse in a coffin in the square.
“But the party and its members have no soul. In fact, they are the walking dead, because the truth is not in them.
“Life,” he told the Napa Catholic Institute in an October interview, “Is more than bread; life has a bigger meaning.
He’s right, and many Christians understand it at first glance, but what sets Lai apart from many of us is that if it’s easy to nod and agree, it’s quite another thing to act. We read Christ’s command to sell all our possessions and follow it, and many of us give of our time and money, some very generously, but how many give everything?
We know that the martyrs and the saints suffered and for their courage on earth are saved. We can hope and pray for their courage if ever they are tested, but until we are, we never really know if we will – so many people don’t. We know that suffering has a purpose, that it sharpens and tests our characters, and that it is to be offered to God, but have you ever tried? It can be done, but it is very, very difficult to uplift your heart as your body and mind bring you back to the temporal things that are torturing them.
“Here is my body, take it!” »Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen preached on Good Friday 1979. “Here is my soul, my will, my energy, my strength, my poverty, my wealth – all I have. It’s yours, take it! Dedicate it! Offer it! Offer it with you. – even to the Heavenly Father, so that he, looking down on this great sacrifice, may see only you, his beloved Son, in whom he takes pleasure. Transmute the poor bread of my life into your life; make the wine of my life wasted in your divine Spirit; unite my broken heart to your heart; change my cross into a crucifix.
“If you believe in the Lord,” Lai told the Napa Institute, “if you believe that all suffering has a reason and that the Lord suffers with me, that will certainly define who I become, so I am at peace with it. . “
“I am what I am. I am what I believe. I cannot change it. And if I cannot change it, I must accept my fate with praise.
But how many actually do it? How many American leaders, how many businessmen are doing just that? How many executives from Disney and Nike, the NBA and Blizzard Entertainment, Apple and Hollywood are doing exactly that? Maybe no other alive.
Instead, how many of them bow to an unholy thief, liar and murderer slavery state in return for access to growing markets? How many colleges and universities are bowing to all the wishes and spies of this state in exchange for paying full tuition fees into their already inflated coffers? How much are they doing? “What is and should be,” Prestowitz asks, “the price of these souls? “
In Western universities and boardrooms, souls are cheap. But not Lai’s. “What separates Jimmy Lai,” a friend in business consulting wrote to me, “from most of the modern day princes of this era is that he cares deeply about something beyond his own. money, power and status ”.
“It’s just living my life,” he told the BBC this spring, sitting in his north Hong Kong mansion. “But if I am in prison, I live my life in a meaningful way.”
“But there are a few things you have to fear,” journalist Danny Vincent asked. “For your family, for Hong Kong, for your loved ones. “
“Yes,” he replied, shivering, his lip quivering and tears suddenly in his eyes. “You’re right. I’m scared.
As with courage, sacrifice, and pain, it’s easy to say we’ve got what it takes. Going to church on Sundays or donating what amounts to a rounding error to a social justice cause is fine, but is it enough? Is it remote enough? How many of our Western elites know in their hearts that if they died in their sleep tonight, no one could say they gave their all for God?
So a lot of media accounts weren’t wrong, they were just halfway right. Jimmy Lai, a man born into poverty, who became a billionaire, who became a Christian, who became a Catholic, who became a freedom fighter, could die this time, next time, or the next time, imprisoned and penniless. But when it is weighed and measured, it will not fail. And for that, when Jimmy Lai dies, he will die very rich indeed.