黎智英 74 年的人生，扮演過很多不同角色：難民、童工、企業家、出版人、香港民主運動參與者，而我很自豪地說，他是我的父親。
而自 2020 年 12 月起，他多了一個角色－一名政治犯，因為支持香港民主運動﹐他正身處鐵窗之下，等待國安法的審訊開始，面臨最高終身監禁刑罰。
我的父親一生都在頑強地為自由奮鬥，這始於他 11 歲從順德偷渡到香港，而正是在香港他首次感覺到自由；我的父親是個一旦相信正確就不顧他人想法並堅持去做的人，他亦是這樣教導我和我的兄弟們，而這些信念亦反映在生活小節上：在假日他會在街上檢垃圾再放入附近的垃圾桶。
Jimmy Lai has worn many hats in his 74 years — refugee, child laborer, entrepreneur, publisher, Hong Kong democracy activist. I’m proud to call him my father.
Since December 2020, he is also a political prisoner. He remains behind bars awaiting trial on national security charges for his support for Hong Kong’s fight for democracy. Crimes under the national security law are punishable by up to life imprisonment.
This weekend my father receives an honorary degree from the Catholic University in Washington. He never had the chance to complete his formal education, though you would be hard pressed to find someone who reads as much as he does. When I could see my father, he would never be without a book in his hands.
But I haven’t seen my father or mother for close to two years now, because I run the risk of being arrested like my brothers if I return to Hong Kong. My mother will not leave under the risk of Hong Kong authorities not letting her return. She sees my father up to four times a month. I don’t know when I will see either of them again. This is the price my father has chosen to pay for Hong Kong’s fight for freedom.
My father has spent his entire life defiantly pursuing freedom, from even the age of 11 when he was a stowaway fleeing China’s Shunde District to Hong Kong. It was in Hong Kong where he first felt what it was to be free.
My father is someone who does what he believes to be right, regardless of what those around him may think. That was how he taught me and my siblings. He lived this even in the small things. When we were on holiday, he would pick up small bits of rubbish from public spaces and place them in the closest bins.
Before my father was arrested, he was constantly asked about the possibility of the rest of his life behind bars. His answer was “this place gave me everything.” For him, it was that simple. He did what he knew was right — he stayed in Hong Kong with the full knowledge of what the consequences could be. With his actions, my father taught me — and continues to teach me with each passing day — what it is to be a person that cleaves to his principles, to be someone who cannot be bought.
My father is but one of dozens of Hong Kong’s democracy activists kept behind bars by the Chinese Communist Party. All with no trial dates set after over a year of detention. Every activist is attached to a network of family and friends who, like ours, is paying a painful price for demanding what should be a birthright — the right to be free, the right to have a say in one’s future.
My father taught my brothers and sisters that if you stand up for your beliefs you have to be willing to pay the price. As his children, we all desperately want him out of jail and home with us. But not at the price of his convictions. My dad would never consider himself free if he had to buy his freedom by betraying his ideals of freedom.
Because of Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong, our family, like numerous others, has been cleft in two. Our only way of communicating to my father outside of Hong Kong is via letters, which take weeks to reach him. But my father is at peace because he believes it’s worth it.