Jerry Newcombe on Do the Hong Kong Protests Have a Prayer?

FILE — Protesters opposed to a proposed extradition law sing hymns outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. Some protesters were advised to sing hymns because religious assemblies are more difficult for the police to break up. (Lam Yik Fei/The New York Times)

Protests in Hong Kong have been going on for months. Is there a Christian element to these protests that has been widely overlooked?

Hong Kong has a population of over 7 million people. Yet it has been estimated that, at one point in recent weeks, as many as a million protesters hit the streets.

Hong Kong has officially been a part of China since 1997, when it was handed back over after being a British colony and territory for more than a century.

They cherish their independence. CNN notes, “Many Hong Kong residents don’t see themselves as Chinese, but rather as Hong Kongers.”

That city enjoys a level of democratic freedom not experienced in mainland China, through “the Hong Kong Basic Law,” which CNN calls Hong Kong’s “defacto constitution…It guarantees freedoms that are unavailable to Chinese mainlanders, such as the right to protest, the right to a free press and freedom of speech.”

The recent protests began in reaction to an extradition bill that would have sent alleged criminals from Hong Kong to China for prosecution. If China lived by Romans 13, using the power of the state to punish evil-doers, perhaps there would be no such protests. The problem is who China defines as evil-doers.

Included in Communist China’s list of alleged evil-doers are religious leaders. Particularly under Chairman Xi, the head of China, the country has been cracking down hard on Christians and people of different faiths. Thus, this extradition law, had it gone into effect, could have allowed for the widespread persecution of Christians in Hong Kong, a city which has many churches and believers.

Last year, for Christian television, I spoke with Wendy Wright, the president of Christian Freedom International. I asked her, “What’s it like to be a Christian in contemporary China?”

She told our viewers, “In China there have been reports for a number of years that Christianity is flourishing and growing and expanding, that there are an untold number of people who are becoming Christians in China. What we’re also seeing is a recent crackdown on Christians and on churches—crosses being destroyed off of churches, so people can’t tell this is a church. Churches are being destroyed, being bulldozed, Bibles online are being censored…. And so we see this silencing, this crushing of public displays of Christianity in China.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jerry Newcombe