Last week, the government of Hong Kong finally withdrew a proposed extradition law that sparked mass protests which have rocked the territory and rattled Beijing for weeks.
However, if Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam thought that withdrawing the extradition law would end the protests, she was mistaken. Over the weekend, demonstrators continued to rally, march, and wave the U.S. flag, while chanting “Resist Beijing, Liberate Hong Kong!” and—get this—“Pray for us, U.S., pray for us!”
Their chants highlight not only a Christian dimension in their protests, but the potential impact they believe Christianity can have on the Communist Party’s dictatorial rule, both in Hong Kong and throughout China.
While the protests were initially sparked by the extradition law, it’s clear that deep dissatisfaction with life under Beijing is keeping the flames burning, especially as the Communist Party attempts to strengthen its grip over Hong Kong. One protester told the Los Angeles Times, “The whole system in Hong Kong is rotten, from top to bottom. We want to tear it down and start fresh.”
In the midst of all this, Communist Party leaders know what many of the commentators and so-called experts in the West have long forgotten. That the ideas about justice and freedom that motivate many of the protesters in Hong Kong are rooted in Christianity.
How can we be sure Communist leaders know this? Because of a 2011 study by the state-run Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
As one Academy member put it, “…we were asked to look into what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world.”
After researchers studied everything from a “historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective,” they “realised that the heart of [the West’s] culture is [its] religion: Christianity . . . The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics.”
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Source: Religion News Service