HONG KONG – Speculation about the future of Hong Kong abounded in 1997 when Great Britain handed over its governing authority to mainland China. Anxiety-ridden headlines predicted China would move swiftly to integrate the city under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
When a one-country, two-systems approach was proposed, the world breathed a collective sigh of relief. That is all the world except the residents of Hong Kong who were more keenly aware of the likelihood that the system and the promises of independence would erode over some indeterminable period.
That feared time arrived this year when an extradition bill was introduced in the Hong Kong legislature that has been viewed as the precursor to the future denial of human rights and religious freedom. Should the bill become law, mainland China would be given the authority to extradite Hong Kong citizens for prosecution on the mainland.
The timing of the proposed extradition law is so closely correlated with the CCP’s social system imposition on mainland residents that Hong Kong’s citizens see it as the first giant leap to infringing upon and restricting the freedoms they have long enjoyed.
Christians are doubly concerned in light of the Chinese closures of churches, increased control over sermons, and incarceration of pastors and church members. They legitimately fear the imposition of the same governmental restrictions, most likely to be followed by extradition of church leaders and parishioners to the mainland for prosecution.
When demonstrators began showing up in the streets to protest the proposed legislation, some Christians joined in. Mainstream news even reported Christians in the milieu joining together in “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord.”
It didn’t take long, however, for protests to turn violent, as they are prone to do.
At that point, “most Christians decided that this has gone too violent and illegal, and they don’t want to take part too much in it.” Rather than protesting, many churches “have called for fasting and extra prayer meetings for Hong Kong.”
Premier, reported that
“Ming Lai Cheung, director of C3 Church Hong Kong, told Premier their satisfaction will never be fulfilled by political systems alone: ‘We’re praying that people will fix their eyes upon Christ. What we are seeing is that many people are putting their hearts in government, in money or in different political systems, but we really, truly believe that only one person can give people hope and that’s Jesus Christ. So, what we’re doing a lot is to pray for the city, we pray for the people, we pray for the leaders to have wisdom, we pray for people who are in authority, and we also pray that God will come and help us.’”
Church leaders in Hong Kong are demonstrating Biblically-based leadership by teaching their parishioners to pray for those in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives as the Scriptures tell us to do.
We do not place our confidence or strength in horses or chariots, protests or demonstrations, or any other weapons of conflict. Let the Christians in Hong Kong remind us that our hope is in the Lord and in Him alone.
The day may come when we will face the same dilemma. May we remember to obey Scripture and follow the example of the faithful followers of Christ in Hong Kong.
To read more news on Religious Freedom on Missions Box, go here.
- Premier, How Hong Kong Christians say we should pray for protests
- Baptist Press, Hong Kong Christians: Bill’s removal not enough
- Christian Daily, Freedom at risk of being ‘lost’ in Hong Kong, says pastor
- Studio Incendo [CC BY 2.0]