As pro-democracy demonstrators continue to mount a mass resistance against China’s communist rule in Hong Kong, the region’s Christian community has started to rise up.
Amongst the throes of tear gas, rubber bullets, and riot shields, a sweet melody of worship can be heard echoing through the city’s central district. Gathering in peace and prayer, thousands of Christian protestors can often be heard belting out the 1974 hymn, “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord.”
Not only is this a show of devotion to Jesus in the midst of tumult and political tyranny, but the singing of this worship song also offers the community a level of immunity, thanks to a Hong Kong law of public assembly that makes exceptions for religious gatherings.
In these volatile days of Chinese agents, facial recognition and mass arrests, this protection is a welcome comfort for the Christian community, who not only stand in unity with their fellow protesters but also solidarity with the much-persecuted Christian community back in mainland China.
Last Friday, thousands upon thousands of believers gathered in Chater Garden for the first political rally organized by the Christian community. According to Religion News Service, the central motto of the gathering was “Salt and light, for justice we walk together.”
An accompanying press release to the event described its aim as helping to “provide all Christians a platform to express themselves outside the church, hoping people would safeguard Hong Kong by singing, praying, worshipping God and at the same time speaking up for justice and standing together with all the Hongkongers in difficult times.”
China has continued to stay tight-lipped on its plans to quell the political protests and has shown no intention of scrapping the extradition bill that sparked the mass action in the first place. In her latest comments, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, said that she was “not accepting the demands,” of protesters who insist on the bill being completely withdrawn.
“We have to say ‘no’ to violence, end the chaotic situation with law enforcement,” she added, according to the Guardian. “We will not give up on the platform for dialogue.”
Fears were stoked in recent weeks after large numbers of military vehicles and troops were shipping into the border region with Hong Kong. So far, however, no major offensive has taken place to rid the city of protestors.