As chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, John Lee is the principal enforcer of the Chinese communist regime’s ever-tightening chokehold on his city’s liberties. Earlier this month, he hosted a “Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit,” in a rather obvious attempt to get around the fact that the United States had banned him from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit now meeting in San Francisco. To what ought to be, but probably isn’t, their shame, Lee’s faux summit, aimed at convincing American financial leaders that Hong Kong is open for business, was attended by the CEOs of Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, Citigroup, Franklin Resources, and others.
Hong Kong may be open for business, but it isn’t open for freedom. For before the American CEOs arrived, Lee pledged to “pay particular attention to those anti-China and destabilizing activities camouflaged in the name of human rights, freedom, democracy and livelihood.” Dr. Goebbels couldn’t have said it better.
Like others at the higher elevations of the Hong Kong civil service, John Lee attended a Catholic secondary school and considers himself a Catholic, as does his predecessor, Carrie Lam. But what kind of Catholics cooperate with a regime that aims to “sinicize” all religion in China, privileging “Xi Jinping Thought” over the gospel of Jesus Christ? What kind of Catholics jail peaceful protesters who ask that Beijing and the Hong Kong government it controls honor the pledge they made to protect civil liberties when Hong Kong reverted to Chinese control in 1997? What kind of Catholics manage a corrupt justice system that delivers pre-packaged verdicts against human rights activists?
And to personalize all this: What kind of Catholics keep a fellow Catholic, Jimmy Lai, in solitary confinement for over a thousand days, after destroying his business, shutting down his newspaper, and arresting him on bogus charges of violating “national security”? What kind of Catholics prevent a man whose only crime is living the Church’s social doctrine from seeing his children for three years? What did John Lee and Carrie Lam learn in those Catholic schools, anyway?