Pastor Facing Prison in Hong Kong Uses His Time on the Stand in Court to Defend Human Rights and Religious Freedom and Share His Testimony of Faith in Christ

Chu Yiu-ming, center, appears with Benny Tai and Chan Kin-man before entering court to hear their verdict.
Image: Kin Cheung / AP

A Baptist pastor in Hong Kong turned the stands of a Hong Kong courtroom into his pulpit, quoting Scripture and calling for justice in the name of God, after he and eight other activists were convicted Tuesday for crimes related to their involvement with pro-democracy Occupy Central and Umbrella Movement protests.

Chu Yiu-ming, leader of Chai Wan Baptist Church, recounted his testimony of finding hope in Christ after a bleak childhood and defended his calling as a minister to fight for human rights, dignity, and care for all people.

“We have no regrets. We hold no grudges, no anger, no grievances. We do not give up,” he said, speaking on behalf of fellow activists involved in a campaign to bring universal voting rights to Hong Kong. “In the words of Jesus, ‘Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; The Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!’ (Matthew 5:10)”

An English translation of Chu’s remarks to the court was printed in full in the Hong Kong Free Press.

In 2013, Chu, along with scholars Benny Tai and Chan Kin-man, launched Occupy Central with Love and Peace, a movement that led to the widespread Umbrella Movement protests the following year. Though the trio was committed to nonviolent civil disobedience, the Hong Kong judge found them guilty of “conspiracy to commit public nuisance.”

As a special administrative region of China, Hong Kong afforded more freedom and autonomy in than the mainland. But it does not elect government leaders directly, and Christian leaders and activists are increasingly worried about encroaching Communist control.

The 75-year-old pastor told the courtroom in Cantonese:

We strive for democracy, because democracy strives for freedom, equality, and universal love. Political freedom is more than loyalty to the state. It professes human dignity. Every single person living in a community possesses unique potentials and powers, capable of making a contribution to society. Human right is a God-given gift, never to be arbitrarily taken away by any political regime.

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SOURCE: Christianity Today, Kate Shellnutt