Franciscan University to Host Event Highlighting Hong Kong Freedom Fighter Jimmy Lai
Screening of documentary film The Hong Konger to highlight Lai’s struggle for human rights.

February 27, 2024

STEUBENVILLE, OH—The Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville will screen a documentary film titled The Hong Konger on Tuesday, March 26, at 7:00 p.m. in the J.C. Williams Center Tony and Nina Gentile Gallery on campus. The film tells the story of Hong Kong businessman and Catholic convert Jimmy Lai’s struggle for freedom under the Chinese Communist government in Hong Kong.

The event will feature opening remarks from Mark Simon, who has worked for Lai for 23 years. Simon served as a senior executive of Next Digital, Lai’s media company, and now serves as the managing director of the Lai Trust.

The Hong Konger was produced by the Acton Institute and recounts the inspiring story of Lai’s ongoing fight for free speech and freedom of the press in Hong Kong. Following the screening of the documentary, Simon will take questions from the audience.

“We at the Veritas Center—a center dedicated to bringing the truth of Catholic teachings into the public square—are so grateful to be able to host this event to share the courageous witness to freedom and the truth that Jimmy Lai has provided,” said Dr. Anne Hendershott, sociology professor at Franciscan University and the director of the Veritas Center.

“A devout Catholic, Jimmy Lai has drawn strength from his faith, and in his speeches and interviews, he has often reminded us that we should never underestimate our moral strength and never be afraid to promote our Catholic values.”

Jimmy Lai, born in China, stowed away on a boat to escape to Hong Kong as a 12-year-old in search of freedom and prosperity. He worked his way from being a textile laborer to building the successful clothing retail brand, Giordano. Following the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in China, Lai started Next Media and its newspaper affiliate, Apple Daily. For many years, his newspaper spoke out against the oppression of the Chinese government and never failed to uphold freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Despite the risks, he continued protesting against the Chinese government’s repression of the people of Hong Kong. He was arrested in December 2020 and remains in prison today.

This event is free and open to the public.

The mission of the Veritas Center is to bring faithful Catholic scholarly reflection to bear on the most pressing ethical questions in contemporary culture—questions of marriage and sexuality, war and peace, life and death, as well as economic and social justice. Through research, writing, and academic conferences, the Veritas Center seeks to combat what Pope Benedict XVI described as “the dictatorship of relativism,” promoting the natural moral law, illuminated by the light of faith, in order to defend both human freedom and dignity in the public square.

For more information on Jimmy Lai and The Hong Konger, visit

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