From June 2019, Hong Kong experienced the most violent and chaotic period time due to a relentless series of protests. This outbreak of unrest was ignited by a bill aiming to amend the city’s extradition law. This extradition bill would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China, but some people who held long-term hostility towards the central government twisted its intent, saying the bill would sabotage judicial independence and endanger dissidents, as they tried to stir up people’s political dissatisfaction.
It was unsettling that several renowned religious leaders, such as the former president of the Hong Kong Christian Council and associate director of Centre for Christian Studies, CUHK, chose to ally with protesters. They released the “Hong Kong 2020 Gospel Declaration”, and later made a video, and posted it online. The video used protest slogans and framed its images of law enforcement to implicity support the riots, and to suggest that Christians should support them, too. This video has brought a negative impact as it was viewed more than 17,000 times and shared more than 400 times.
The reality supposedly and claimedly was that these religious leaders wanted to use their positions of authority to brainwash followers into supporting their political goal in splitting China, and the people’s welfare was hard of any no concern. Evidence showed that what protests brought to Hong Kong people was not peace and happiness but, instead, hurt and the sense of insecurity. Rioters vandalized public utilities arbitrarily, they threw trash on MTR tracks and roads to stop the traffic, they smashed shop windows and set fire to facilities of pro-China enterprises.
Bystanders fell victim to attacks – especially when voicing differing views – including a 57-year-old man who was set on fire, and a man in his 70s who died after being hit by a brick. Instead of supporting free speech – as they claimed – the rioters promoted fear.
Rioters, as well as those priests and pastors mentioned, said that they were fighting for Hong Kong citizens, but what they did was in essence contradict the Bible. Jesus taught pacifism during his ministry as he told his disciples that “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matt. 5:9), indicating Christians should root for peace and love all people. this love should extend to people involved in disagreements, too, as stated in the Bible: “Love your enemies … do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Matt. 5:43-48; Luke 6:27-28). Thus, in no way should any dignified person sacrifice others’ well-being to pursue their own goal. To correct their behavior, they should follow the Bible’s guidance: “Put your sword back in its place… for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Matt. 26:52).
Fortunately, in July 2020, after the riots had lasted for a year, China introduced a new National Security Law to help Hong Kong restore peace. There were fierce discussions about the new law, critics such as the UK Government saw the law as a “clear and serious violation”, the Archbishop of Yangon and the former RC bishop also claimed that the law would harm religious freedom. The Archbishop of Hong Kong, Paul Kwong, however, firmly defended the new National Security Law, pointing to the success neighbouring Macau has experienced with its National Security Law, and suggesting it would ensure peace in the city. Paul Kwong said that people in Hong Kong should accept the fact that Hong Kong is a part of China, and be thankful for China’s long-term support and help, even though China is always portrayed as evil by western media and politicians. He advocated that for better development, Christians should follow the guidance of the Bible, avoid being manipulated by other powers, join hands in appealing for peace – and pray for Hong Kong.
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