Hong Kong

Hong Kong Christians fear freedom of religion could be “gone forever” despite withdrawal of controversial extradition bill and leader Carrie Lam’s efforts to ease tensions [#HongKongChristians #FreedomOfReligion #GoneForever]

Hong Kong Christians fear freedom of religion could be “gone forever” despite the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill and leader Carrie Lam’s efforts to ease tensions in the administrative region.

Christians and pro-democracy supporters are worried the Chinese government could make another attempt to ramrod legislation in Hong Kong that would specifically target the faith community and strip basic human rights.

Before the bill was withdrawn, it triggered 3 months of unrest.

The controversial bill would have allowed people to be sent from Hong Kong to mainland China for trial.

Protesters felt the withdrawal of the bill did not go far enough. They demanded laws that would include universal suffrage and requested an independent inquiry into their complaints of excessive force by police.

Hong Kong Christians fear religious freedom could be ‘gone forever’:
Fox News

“Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” – Anthem of the Protests in Hong Kong [#SingHallelujahToTheLord #HongKongProtests #ChristianNews]

Since protests began more than 12 weeks ago over an extradition bill that would allow Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China for trial, the Christian community of the city has taken an active role.

Groups of Christians regularly participate in the marches that have coursed through the streets of Hong Kong every weekend since June 2019, and their pleas for peaceful protests and their hymns and prayers are often heard along with protest chants.

One hymn, “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord,” written in 1974, has caught on as an anthem of the protests, sung by believers and nonbelievers alike.

The Christian hymn not only inspires: It grants the protesters some protection under a technicality in Hong Kong law of public assembly that exempts religious gatherings.

The bill that brought the protesters out into the streets has since been suspended, but the demonstrations have continued, turning into a larger campaign for democracy and for maintaining the “one country, two systems” model agreed upon when the former British colony returned to China in 1997.

Christians lend an anthem, and a pacifist spirit, to protests in Hong Kong:
Religion News Service

Armed with a Bible, a guitar and a drawing of Jesus walking on water, Andrea Wong sat outside the offices of the central government of Hong Kong and booed.

Ms. Wong, usually stays out of politics. But, as Hong Kong was swept by mass protests against closer ties with mainland China, she asked herself what a good Christian would do.

“I am very certain that Jesus would not have stayed home enjoying the air-conditioning. He would have been out here helping people and marching.”
– Ms. Wong

Christians have been a visible part of the protests — among the largest in Hong Kong’s history — providing food and shelter at demonstrations and condemning efforts by the police to break them up. Many protesters, even those who are not religious, have embraced the teachings and messages of Christianity to denounce a proposed law to allow extraditions to mainland China.

With Hymns and Prayers, Christians Help Drive Hong Kong’s Protests:
Christianity has had a striking influence in demonstrations against a proposed law that would allow extraditions to mainland China.

A hymn sung by Christian groups participating in the anti-extradition Hong Kong protests has caught on and become an unlikely anthem for the movement of millions in the streets.

“Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” has been heard almost non-stop at the main protest site in front of the Legislative Council of the city, and at marches and tense stand-offs with police.

Although only 10 percent of the population is Christian, church groups quickly rallied after being alarmed by reports of police brutality to make a safe haven for protesters as the government said it had to crack down on “organized riots.”

And that is how the hymn caught on.

Hong Kong protesters embrace unexpected Christian anthem: ‘Sing Hallelujah to the Lord’:
Fox News

Nearly 2 million people gathered on the streets of Hong Kong to participate in a mass protest against a controversial extradition bill that could see residents sent to mainland China to stand trial.

The leader of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, suspended the bill and followed that up with a rare apology. In the apology, she admitted “deficiencies” in the work of the government had led to “substantial controversies and disputes in society, causing disappointment and grief among the people.”

Hong Kong has been governed under a “one country, two systems” formula since 1997, when Britain returned control of Hong Kong to China. As a result, Hong Kong has enjoyed privileges not granted to China, including an independent judiciary, increased protections, and fewer restrictions on freedom of expression.

Determined to preserve the systems it inherited from Britain, which included freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and eventually, free elections, protestors are calling on Carrie Lam to resign — and for the bill to be scrapped, not merely suspended.

Videos posted on social media show thousands of protestors singing “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord,” a Christian song that has become the unofficial anthem of the protests.

And despite the arrest of 32 protestors, the demonstrations are not likely to end anytime soon:

According to Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), the organizers of the protests, they will continue until the government withdraws the extradition bill in its entirety, releases arrested protesters and withdraws all charges, retracts the characterization of the protests as a “riot” and forces Carrie Lam to resign.

“Should the government refuse to respond, only more Hong Kongers will strike tomorrow.”
– CHRF

Christians have been among the leading forces behind the protests in Hong Kong, and several influential evangelical and Catholic leaders have participated in the demonstrations.

Christian leaders react to Hong Kong protests: ‘Christ will stand by us’:
Christian Post