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Author Topic: Hong Kong 2019  (Read 1485 times)

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patrick jane

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Re: Hong Kong 2019
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2019, 09:02:30 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/september/prophetic-voice-of-hong-kongs-protesters.html






The Prophetic Voice of Hong Kong’s Protesters




The political forces in the region also pose an existential threat to the church.


The people of Hong Kong have protested for greater freedoms for years, but the latest demonstrations represent a historic outcry.

Since 1997, July 1 has marked the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return as a territory of China after 150 years of British colonial rule. Beginning in 2003, it is also the date of annual protests by Hong Kong residents calling for increased democracy.

These demonstrations have been generally peaceful—until this summer, when a group of protesters stormed the Legislative Council parliament building. They were angry at what they saw as China’s most recent, and most egregious, effort to weaken the freedoms of Hong Kongers.

In April, Carrie Lam, the chief executive of Hong Kong, had introduced a bill that would allow Hong Kong to detain and transfer people wanted in countries and territories with which Hong Kong has no formal extradition agreement, including mainland China and Taiwan. The bill, she argued, was necessary to send a Hong Kong man wanted for murder to trial in Taiwan. It specifically included exemptions for political crimes, religious crimes, and certain white-collar crimes.

The Hong Kong public, though, saw the bill as a thinly veiled ploy to give China additional power over the semi-autonomous territory. The bill has kicked off nearly four months of protests that have, at times, had as many as 1.7 million participants—a remarkable number for a city of 7.4 million people.

Even as the extradition bill was suspended by Lam, and then withdrawn altogether, the protests against Chinese overreach have continued, with turnout spiking leading up to another anniversary: National Day. October 1 marks the 70th annual commemoration of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Aside from the bill itself, four of the protesters’ five main demands remain: Lam’s resignation, an inquiry into police brutality, the release of those arrested, and greater democratic freedoms.

Many Hong Kong Christians, while comprising less than 12 percent of the population, have played a prominent role in the protests—marching, singing hymns, holding prayer circles, and providing food and shelter to other demonstrators. (The Jesus People song “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” became an unexpected anthem of the protests, as participants sang the tune to calm confrontations with police.)

For Christians there, the Chinese Communist Party may be the greatest existential threat to the Hong Kong church. In the past few years Chinese president Xi Jinping has systematically cracked down on Christianity in the mainland, razing churches, arresting leaders, and ejecting foreign missionaries. The persecution has extended to other faiths, with Xi’s government detaining as many as one million Muslim Uighur people in re-education camps in the country’s western region.

Under the Hong Kong Basic Law, a constitution agreed to by the United Kingdom and the People’s Republic of China when the former handed Hong Kong back to the latter, none of these things should happen in Hong Kong—at least not until 2047, when the Basic Law and Hong Kong’s semi-autonomy expire.

But in the 22 years since Hong Kong became part of China again, the Communist country has shown a willingness to push the boundaries of that agreement. The Hong Kong legislature is stacked with pro-Beijing lawmakers; the supposedly free press is regularly censored. On multiple occasions, China has pushed for history curriculum in Hong Kong schools that, among other things, erases significant events like Mao Zedong’s disastrous Great Leap Forward campaign and the Tiananmen Square massacre. Electoral reforms proposed by Beijing, which gave the Chinese Communist Party more influence over who was eligible to run for office in Hong Kong, sparked the Umbrella Movement in 2014.

Even without an extradition agreement, China has already shown its willingness to abduct and detain Hong Kong residents that have angered Communist leaders. Most notably, five Hong Kong booksellers who sold books critical of Chinese leaders disappeared in 2015, claiming later that they had been imprisoned on the mainland. In a country where as many as 99.9 percent of defendants are found guilty, the idea of justice is questionable at best.

For Chinese Christians within the diaspora, the threat from the mainland is no less real. Those born in the 1930s and 1940s grew up as Mao Zedong and his staunchly atheist Communist Party came to power. Many Chinese Christians who now live abroad fled after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, with Hong Kong often being one of their first stops toward the freedom to practice their faith.

Today Hong Kong remains the safest haven on the border of mainland China for missionaries and ministries, where they go to purchase supplies, attend trainings, post on social media, or simply to escape the ever watchful Chinese authorities, known for monitoring communications and the movements of foreigners. Hong Kong often serves as the staging ground or headquarters for missions efforts into the mainland. As China attempts to exert greater control over Hong Kong, their work is even more at risk.

Of course, no protest movement is perfect in its motivations and actions. Protesters in Hong Kong have been criticized for shutting down the city’s bustling international airport on multiple occasions, damaging government buildings, scuffling with police, and harming the tourism industry.

But even flawed protest movements can provide a prophetic voice, bringing to light the forces threatened by a people who are free and empowered. The demonstrators’ persistent efforts have highlighted police brutality; they have incurred the aggression of the Triads, organized crime syndicates in Hong Kong.

Protest leaders, including Joshua Wong, a Christian activist who rose to prominence during the 2014 protests, and anti-Beijing lawmakers have been arrested. The Chinese military is amassing security forces on the Hong Kong border as a stark warning to the protesters about the possible consequences of their actions.

In recent years, the international community has been more inclined to overlook China’s curbing of human and political rights within the mainland and its territories, in hopes of currying favor with the economic and military superpower. But with these protests, it has become much harder to ignore the fact that China ranks 135th on the Human Freedom Index. Activists from Hong Kong have recently testified before the United Nations Human Rights Council and the US Congress.

At this point, no one knows how the story unfolding in Hong Kong will end. Some could even argue that their efforts are futile, given that, in a short 28 years, Hong Kongers will have lost all claim to their existing freedoms and political systems. The many thriving churches and ministries in Hong Kong may be forced to close their doors or go underground after 2047.

But, for now, they continue to raise their voices. They continue to march. And the spotlight continues to shine into some of the darkest corners of Chinese rule.




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Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Hong Kong 2019
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2019, 10:47:19 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/november/hong-kong-chinese-diaspora-churches-north-america-response.html







Praying for Hong Kong Can Be Politically Disruptive—Even in America




Why Chinese diaspora churches remain silent while Christians in Hong Kong take to the streets.


On the afternoon of Sunday, August 18, about 70 people gathered for a prayer meeting at a church in Vancouver organized by the group Vancouver Christians for Love, Peace, and Justice. Their focus was the same as their three previous gatherings: to pray for the ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong, for those affected, and for human rights and freedom in the city of 7.4 million people.

Before the meeting ended, the Tenth Street church building was surrounded by as many as 100 pro-China demonstrators waving Chinese and Canadian flags. The attendees inside, according to a spokesperson, feared for their safety and were escorted out by Vancouver police officers.

This confrontation took place more than 6,300 miles from Hong Kong and six months after Chief Executive Carrie Lam introduced a controversial extradition bill that would allow fugitives to be extradited into mainland China. The proposal was seen as a ploy to grant Beijing more power over the city, setting off large-scale demonstrations that have continued to this day.

While Lam canceled the extradition bill in September, unrest has continued as protesters press for Lam’s resignation, an inquiry into police brutality during the protests, the release of those arrested, and greater democratic freedoms.

The situation in Hong Kong hits close to home for the 500,000 Hong Kong immigrants residing in Canada and the more than 200,000 in the US. Many still have relatives and friends in Hong Kong, which is part of China but governed by separate laws. Others have directly benefitted from the freedoms and opportunities offered by the semi-autonomous region.

Pastor John D. L. Young grew up in Guangdong Province in mainland China, and then spent about six years studying for his doctoral degree in Hong Kong before immigrating to the US. “I have great affection for Hong Kong. My studies in Hong Kong were financially supported by churches there,” Young, who now leads two Methodist Chinese churches in the New York metropolitan area, said in a recent interview with CT. Speaking in Cantonese, he explained, “The church in Hong Kong has given me a lot of support and encouragement. They provide a lot of love and financial support to the church in China also.”

But these deep ties to Hong Kong have not been enough for Chinese churches in North America to take a public stance. Meanwhile, Christians in Hong Kong have played an active role in the protests: marching, offering food and shelter to demonstrators, and attempting to diffuse tensions with the police.

The Hong Kong Christian Council published a strongly worded statement in July, calling for the suspension of the extradition bill and an independent inquiry into police brutality. In contrast, the Chinese church in North America—numbering more than 1,000 institutions in the US alone—has been largely silent.

The choice not to publicly comment on the Hong Kong protests is an intentional one, with Chinese Christian leaders fearing repercussions from both their own congregants and external supporters of Beijing.

According to Fenggang Yang, founding director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University and author of Chinese Christians in America, the majority of Chinese churches in the diaspora have members who come from different regions of East Asia. “In most congregations, you will find people from Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, and southeast Asia,” Yang told CT. “Ten years ago, mainland Chinese were still a minority in many churches. Now many have a majority from the People’s Republic of China.”

Different origins among ethnic Chinese immigrants can foster different political views, with more Christians from China supporting the policies of the Chinese government, and those from elsewhere often more critical of the Chinese Communist Party. Even among Chinese immigrants from the same place, views on the situation in Hong Kong can diverge greatly depending on age, personal politics, and tolerance for civil disobedience.

“When you have very nationalistic Chinese Christians and more democratic Chinese Christians, it’s hard for them to have any meaningful conversation,” said Yang. At his own home church in Indiana, a longtime member from Taiwan offered a prayer for the situation in Hong Kong, and another member from China immediately filed a complaint with church leaders.

The simplest solution, then, among Chinese church leaders and laypeople in the diaspora, is to remain avidly apolitical. There is a hard-fought sense of unity within Chinese churches, which gather immigrants of diverse backgrounds around shared culture and ethnicity. But this unity can be easily disrupted by discussions of controversial or complex political issues.

The current situation in Hong Kong is particularly fraught, as it presses on uncomfortable questions of sovereignty, nationalism, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, civic responsibility, and personal loyalties.

“Just as Hong Kong Christians most want peace, those in the diaspora also want peace in their churches and in Hong Kong,” explains Justin Tse, a social and cultural geographer and the lead editor of Theological Reflections on the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement, which covers the 2014 protests considered a precursor to today’s demonstrations.

As violence has escalated between Hong Kong protesters, opponents of the demonstrations, and the police, leading to several fatalities and serious injuries in recent weeks, prayers for peace are not inconsequential. Prayers for peace are certainly significant for the number of Hong Kong pastors who are regularly serving as front-line peacemakers in the demonstrations, trying to calm tensions and act as buffers in confrontations between protesters and police

But Tse is concerned that broad statements or prayers about peace have become a proxy for more substantive conversations.

“One of my longstanding concerns about the Chinese church is that when stuff happens that is upsetting to people in general, they don’t want to talk about it,” Tse explains. “Because they don’t want to talk about it, they don’t want to learn about it. But in not talking about it, they are talking about it.”

There’s a belief among many Chinese pastors that it’s simply not their place. Chinese churches in North America have generally stayed out of partisan debates, with the notable exception of being vocal opponents of same-sex marriage.

Joseph Chun, a Hong Kong native who is now the senior pastor of First Chinese Baptist Church in Los Angeles, said that he has his own personal views of the demonstrations in Hong Kong. “But I would not influence my people to have the same opinion I have,” he told CT. “That is not my role, to press my opinion upon my people that I am shepherding.” Instead, he focuses on teaching them biblical principles, such as what is evil and good and merciful, and lets them make up their own minds.

Several Chinese pastors in the US declined to be interviewed for this article, citing similar reasons: They don’t want to speak for their congregations; they don’t want to risk harming the unity of their community; they don’t feel like they know enough; or they haven’t discussed the Hong Kong protests at all with their churches.

Kevin Xiyi Yao, a native of mainland China who is now an associate professor of World Christianity and Asian Studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, understands why Chinese congregations in North America choose not to take sides on controversial political issues. But, in this case, he believes they’re missing an opportunity to address a fundamental challenge that extends beyond current events and plagues Chinese people as a whole: a strong prejudice against other Chinese based on language, culture, and geographic origin.

In the current demonstrations, “I would say there is a lot of rhetoric and mentality of parochialism and outright discrimination,” he told CT in a recent interview. Among many Hong Kong protesters, there is an overt bias against people from mainland China. Many mainland Chinese, in turn, see Hong Kongers as entitled troublemakers. Such prejudices are often brought into Chinese churches in the diaspora—but they aren’t discussed.

Addressing such biases “could be painful in the short term, but in the long term it’s good for the health of the church, to make the church stronger. If you want to cover it over to maintain the peace on the surface, then you end up with a weak church,” said Yao. As an alternative, he recommends that church leaders “talk about what reconciliation means. Let’s talk about issues of social justice. What’s the Christian vision of a just and peaceful society?”

For now, these kinds of conversations are rare among North American Chinese churches. And while church leaders fear that speaking out about Hong Kong or other hot button topics could drive out members, silence could very well have the same effect.

Tse, for example, is part of a group of second-generation Chinese Americans and Chinese Canadians who left the evangelical church after its refusal to address the 2014 Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong.

As the few churches and Chinese Christian leaders who have spoken out have discovered, there are risks to being vocal. Tse knows of several congregations that support the Hong Kong protests, including his own Eastern Catholic congregation in the suburbs of Vancouver, that have been visited by strangers who photographed all the attendees and posted their images on social media. Others, like Vancouver Christians for Love, Peace, and Justice, have been harassed by pro-China demonstrators.

It’s also common for Chinese churches in the diaspora to be connected to ministries and Christian leaders in Hong Kong and China through giving, missions work, and denominational ties. They fear that if they become known as outspoken pro-democracy advocates, their partners could face harassment and oppression by Chinese authorities.

And yet refusing to engage with current events, especially when it concerns human rights and social justice, comes with its own costs, according to Tenth Church senior pastor Ken Shigematsu. “There’s a danger in being politically partisan, but there’s also a danger in not speaking out prophetically and boldly on the issues of our day,” he told CT. “And I would say that’s an even greater danger.”

Despite the incident on one of his church’s five sites back in August, Shigematsu continues to encourage prayer and dialogue about the demonstrations in Hong Kong within his multiethnic congregation. He hopes that more pastors will do the same.

“I would say that it’s important to be informed on the issues, to be praying for wisdom and discernment. But when we see human rights violated, intimidation and violence, I believe that it’s important as pastors to speak out against those kinds of injustices,” he said. “There sometimes is an overlap between justice issues and political issues. When that happens, we’re not going to shy away from the issue. We’ll sometimes wade into controversy.”
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Hong Kong 2019
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2019, 08:13:17 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/november/hong-kong-chinese-diaspora-churches-north-america-response.html







Praying for Hong Kong Can Be Politically Disruptive—Even in America




Why Chinese diaspora churches remain silent while Christians in Hong Kong take to the streets.


On the afternoon of Sunday, August 18, about 70 people gathered for a prayer meeting at a church in Vancouver organized by the group Vancouver Christians for Love, Peace, and Justice. Their focus was the same as their three previous gatherings: to pray for the ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong, for those affected, and for human rights and freedom in the city of 7.4 million people.

Before the meeting ended, the Tenth Street church building was surrounded by as many as 100 pro-China demonstrators waving Chinese and Canadian flags. The attendees inside, according to a spokesperson, feared for their safety and were escorted out by Vancouver police officers.

This confrontation took place more than 6,300 miles from Hong Kong and six months after Chief Executive Carrie Lam introduced a controversial extradition bill that would allow fugitives to be extradited into mainland China. The proposal was seen as a ploy to grant Beijing more power over the city, setting off large-scale demonstrations that have continued to this day.

While Lam canceled the extradition bill in September, unrest has continued as protesters press for Lam’s resignation, an inquiry into police brutality during the protests, the release of those arrested, and greater democratic freedoms.

The situation in Hong Kong hits close to home for the 500,000 Hong Kong immigrants residing in Canada and the more than 200,000 in the US. Many still have relatives and friends in Hong Kong, which is part of China but governed by separate laws. Others have directly benefitted from the freedoms and opportunities offered by the semi-autonomous region.

Pastor John D. L. Young grew up in Guangdong Province in mainland China, and then spent about six years studying for his doctoral degree in Hong Kong before immigrating to the US. “I have great affection for Hong Kong. My studies in Hong Kong were financially supported by churches there,” Young, who now leads two Methodist Chinese churches in the New York metropolitan area, said in a recent interview with CT. Speaking in Cantonese, he explained, “The church in Hong Kong has given me a lot of support and encouragement. They provide a lot of love and financial support to the church in China also.”

But these deep ties to Hong Kong have not been enough for Chinese churches in North America to take a public stance. Meanwhile, Christians in Hong Kong have played an active role in the protests: marching, offering food and shelter to demonstrators, and attempting to diffuse tensions with the police.

The Hong Kong Christian Council published a strongly worded statement in July, calling for the suspension of the extradition bill and an independent inquiry into police brutality. In contrast, the Chinese church in North America—numbering more than 1,000 institutions in the US alone—has been largely silent.

The choice not to publicly comment on the Hong Kong protests is an intentional one, with Chinese Christian leaders fearing repercussions from both their own congregants and external supporters of Beijing.

According to Fenggang Yang, founding director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University and author of Chinese Christians in America, the majority of Chinese churches in the diaspora have members who come from different regions of East Asia. “In most congregations, you will find people from Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, and southeast Asia,” Yang told CT. “Ten years ago, mainland Chinese were still a minority in many churches. Now many have a majority from the People’s Republic of China.”

Different origins among ethnic Chinese immigrants can foster different political views, with more Christians from China supporting the policies of the Chinese government, and those from elsewhere often more critical of the Chinese Communist Party. Even among Chinese immigrants from the same place, views on the situation in Hong Kong can diverge greatly depending on age, personal politics, and tolerance for civil disobedience.

“When you have very nationalistic Chinese Christians and more democratic Chinese Christians, it’s hard for them to have any meaningful conversation,” said Yang. At his own home church in Indiana, a longtime member from Taiwan offered a prayer for the situation in Hong Kong, and another member from China immediately filed a complaint with church leaders.

The simplest solution, then, among Chinese church leaders and laypeople in the diaspora, is to remain avidly apolitical. There is a hard-fought sense of unity within Chinese churches, which gather immigrants of diverse backgrounds around shared culture and ethnicity. But this unity can be easily disrupted by discussions of controversial or complex political issues.

The current situation in Hong Kong is particularly fraught, as it presses on uncomfortable questions of sovereignty, nationalism, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, civic responsibility, and personal loyalties.

“Just as Hong Kong Christians most want peace, those in the diaspora also want peace in their churches and in Hong Kong,” explains Justin Tse, a social and cultural geographer and the lead editor of Theological Reflections on the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement, which covers the 2014 protests considered a precursor to today’s demonstrations.

As violence has escalated between Hong Kong protesters, opponents of the demonstrations, and the police, leading to several fatalities and serious injuries in recent weeks, prayers for peace are not inconsequential. Prayers for peace are certainly significant for the number of Hong Kong pastors who are regularly serving as front-line peacemakers in the demonstrations, trying to calm tensions and act as buffers in confrontations between protesters and police

But Tse is concerned that broad statements or prayers about peace have become a proxy for more substantive conversations.

“One of my longstanding concerns about the Chinese church is that when stuff happens that is upsetting to people in general, they don’t want to talk about it,” Tse explains. “Because they don’t want to talk about it, they don’t want to learn about it. But in not talking about it, they are talking about it.”

There’s a belief among many Chinese pastors that it’s simply not their place. Chinese churches in North America have generally stayed out of partisan debates, with the notable exception of being vocal opponents of same-sex marriage.

Joseph Chun, a Hong Kong native who is now the senior pastor of First Chinese Baptist Church in Los Angeles, said that he has his own personal views of the demonstrations in Hong Kong. “But I would not influence my people to have the same opinion I have,” he told CT. “That is not my role, to press my opinion upon my people that I am shepherding.” Instead, he focuses on teaching them biblical principles, such as what is evil and good and merciful, and lets them make up their own minds.

Several Chinese pastors in the US declined to be interviewed for this article, citing similar reasons: They don’t want to speak for their congregations; they don’t want to risk harming the unity of their community; they don’t feel like they know enough; or they haven’t discussed the Hong Kong protests at all with their churches.

Kevin Xiyi Yao, a native of mainland China who is now an associate professor of World Christianity and Asian Studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, understands why Chinese congregations in North America choose not to take sides on controversial political issues. But, in this case, he believes they’re missing an opportunity to address a fundamental challenge that extends beyond current events and plagues Chinese people as a whole: a strong prejudice against other Chinese based on language, culture, and geographic origin.

In the current demonstrations, “I would say there is a lot of rhetoric and mentality of parochialism and outright discrimination,” he told CT in a recent interview. Among many Hong Kong protesters, there is an overt bias against people from mainland China. Many mainland Chinese, in turn, see Hong Kongers as entitled troublemakers. Such prejudices are often brought into Chinese churches in the diaspora—but they aren’t discussed.

Addressing such biases “could be painful in the short term, but in the long term it’s good for the health of the church, to make the church stronger. If you want to cover it over to maintain the peace on the surface, then you end up with a weak church,” said Yao. As an alternative, he recommends that church leaders “talk about what reconciliation means. Let’s talk about issues of social justice. What’s the Christian vision of a just and peaceful society?”

For now, these kinds of conversations are rare among North American Chinese churches. And while church leaders fear that speaking out about Hong Kong or other hot button topics could drive out members, silence could very well have the same effect.

Tse, for example, is part of a group of second-generation Chinese Americans and Chinese Canadians who left the evangelical church after its refusal to address the 2014 Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong.

As the few churches and Chinese Christian leaders who have spoken out have discovered, there are risks to being vocal. Tse knows of several congregations that support the Hong Kong protests, including his own Eastern Catholic congregation in the suburbs of Vancouver, that have been visited by strangers who photographed all the attendees and posted their images on social media. Others, like Vancouver Christians for Love, Peace, and Justice, have been harassed by pro-China demonstrators.

It’s also common for Chinese churches in the diaspora to be connected to ministries and Christian leaders in Hong Kong and China through giving, missions work, and denominational ties. They fear that if they become known as outspoken pro-democracy advocates, their partners could face harassment and oppression by Chinese authorities.

And yet refusing to engage with current events, especially when it concerns human rights and social justice, comes with its own costs, according to Tenth Church senior pastor Ken Shigematsu. “There’s a danger in being politically partisan, but there’s also a danger in not speaking out prophetically and boldly on the issues of our day,” he told CT. “And I would say that’s an even greater danger.”

Despite the incident on one of his church’s five sites back in August, Shigematsu continues to encourage prayer and dialogue about the demonstrations in Hong Kong within his multiethnic congregation. He hopes that more pastors will do the same.

“I would say that it’s important to be informed on the issues, to be praying for wisdom and discernment. But when we see human rights violated, intimidation and violence, I believe that it’s important as pastors to speak out against those kinds of injustices,” he said. “There sometimes is an overlap between justice issues and political issues. When that happens, we’re not going to shy away from the issue. We’ll sometimes wade into controversy.”


 another Tiananmen Square
1 Cor 15:3-4.."For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Acts 17:11.."These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
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Re: Hong Kong 2019
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2020, 01:45:44 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/june-web-only/hong-kong-christians-pastors-letter-china-security-law.html







Hong Kong Christians Respond as Beijing’s Grip Tightens










Pastors repent for staying silent to protect ministry at the expense of justice.


Moments before law enforcement officers violently cleared protesters in Lafayette Park so President Donald Trump could walk from the White House to St. John’s Church and have his picture taken holding a Bible, a journalist who had recently spent months on the streets of Hong Kong confidently donned a gas mask while nearby colleagues looked on confusedly as they became engulfed in the ensuing melee.

Chemical irritants and flash-bang grenades are not the only similarities between the clashes taking place in Washington DC and those that have consumed Hong Kong for the past year. As in the United States, Christians in Hong Kong struggle to define their role in a society marred by institutionalized injustice and sharp division.

An open letter drafted by a group of evangelical pastors, theologians, and parachurch leaders and signed by more than 2,400 Christians in Hong Kong echoed sentiments shared by many believers in the US and elsewhere in the world: commitment to the fullness of the gospel; refusal to submit to an authoritarian regime; dedication to walk with the people of their community; and the church’s need to repent of apathy and inaction.

Whether in Washington or Hong Kong, the current conflicts center around abuse of official power. In Hong Kong’s case, China’s central government has effectively thrown out the “one country, two systems” formula under which the former British colony was to be governed for 50 years after 1997. Smashing through the wall of separation that was meant to protect the city from the vagaries of China’s socialist legal system, China’s leaders are now unilaterally imposing draconian national security measures that would render illegal any opposition in word or action to the regime in Beijing.

While Hong Kong churches and the many Christian organizations that play a vital role in the city’s social infrastructure continue to enjoy freedom as before, many have curtailed their outreach activities in mainland China. (Believers account for about 12 percent of the population in Hong Kong, compared with about 7 percent on the mainland.

Under the new security legislation, the appearance of connections to foreign “anti-China” individuals or groups, or to local political activists, could have possible legal consequences. So could speaking out on sensitive issues, including the treatment of Christians in the mainland.

Declaring God’s sovereignty in the face of this political overreach, the Hong Kong pastors stated in their letter:

“The King of Heaven does not rule by controlling the world. Rather, He rules by showing His love and humble servitude…. Thus, as the King of Heaven, His political blueprint is ‘to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ (Luke 4:18-19)”

Their letter confessed that churches have been “too focused on their internal affairs” and neglected social justice—including speaking up for oppressed minorities in the city—and have been silent in the face of mounting authoritarianism:

“When facing the authority’s strong governance and the persecution and suppression towards the dissidents, churches often chose to protect themselves. They engaged in self-censorship and remained silent towards the evil deeds of the authority, with their only wish being the smooth and uninterrupted operation of church ministries.”

Proclaiming Christ as the highest authority, the pastors offered “sincere repentance” and vowed not to submit to the leadership of any government entity or political party whose demands run counter to biblical teaching.

Pent-up Frustration
Similar to those protesting the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, Hong Kong’s protesters are voicing the pent-up frustration of years of seeing personal liberties eroded as the Chinese government has systematically tightened its stranglehold on the city’s media, schools, civic organizations, and the business community, including a vibrant expat population that is key to Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center.

“Everybody understands that Hong Kong is very useful to China for the exchange of currency and many other things,” said Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, in an interview last month. “And now, they are ready to destroy everything, and we can do nothing because Hong Kong is a small thing—[China] can crush it as they like.”

Many local politicians across the US have encouraged their citizens to seek change at the polls, not merely in the streets. In Hong Kong, however, the goalposts for universal suffrage promised under the “one country, two systems” framework continue to move further downfield with every new decision emanating from Beijing.

Hong Kong’s protestors have grown weary of tone-deaf local officials charged with looking out for the city’s interests who have increasingly defined those interests in terms of Beijing’s demands. This includes championing restrictive election reform measures designed to strengthen central government control, as well as white elephant infrastructure projects that enrich mainland companies and local business elites.

On the streets of Hong Kong, living under the watchful eye of what had been considered “Asia’s Finest” brings not reassurance but fear, compounded by the eventuality of China’s own national security agents being introduced into Hong Kong as part of the new national security provisions. In the eyes of those assigned to protect them, the people of Hong Kong have become the enemy, some being labeled as terrorists by officials.

Now that the gloves are off and Beijing has chosen to bypass Hong Kong’s partially elected legislature entirely, the local government has become largely irrelevant. Like many of those seen on American streets this week, Hong Kong’s protesters feel they have reached the end of their rope; there is no legitimate forum in which to air their grievances.

“We have nothing good to hope for,” said Cardinal Zen. “Hong Kong is simply completely under [China’s] control. We depend on China even for our food and water. But we put ourselves in the hands of God.”

Institutional Sins
The conflicts raging on the streets of Hong Kong and the US did not appear overnight, but are the result of deep-rooted institutional sins.

Hong Kong’s lopsided prosperity and its tenuous political situation are, paradoxically, the twin offspring of colonization, beginning with Britain’s military conquest in the opium wars of the mid-19th century. While in the 1980s, hopes of China’s eventual democratization inspired the optimistic rhetoric of the “one country, two systems” formula, Hong Kong has since gone from being seen as a laboratory for what China could become to an example of what China’s paranoid leaders fear most.

As these leaders become increasingly anti-foreign, Hong Kong becomes a casualty in the unraveling of China’s relationships with the West. How the Trump administration chooses to follow through on its recent determination that Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous to warrant special treatment will significantly impact the city’s future.

Like a tear gas canister lobbed abruptly into an unsuspecting crowd, the mainland government’s recent moves have left those who sought lasting change for Hong Kong gasping for air.

For many Hong Kong Christians, it is neither a time to retreat nor to take political matters into their own hands, but rather to double down on their commitment to the people of Hong Kong.

As Mimi Lau, a journalist with Hong Kong’s English daily South China Morning Post, urged in a Twitter thread:

“#HKers : now is not the time to desert your home. Rise up to your roles, become a KOL [key opinion leader] in your own fields and stand by your core values and believes. Most importantly, have #Faith. #HongKong is worth fighting for.

What else can I do as a #HK journalist? What can I do as a disciple of Christ? What can I do as a friend, as a collegue [sic], as a member of my community, as a daughter and as a sister? What would I give to #StandWithHongKong ?”

The pastors in their open letter pledged that “no matter how tough it gets, we shall hold onto our duty as the church to walk together with all Hongkongers, and to uphold Hong Kong ceaselessly with prayers and pastoral care, as a living testimony of ‘Emmanuel’ — God is here with those who are suffering.”

Affirming their belief that God will lead Hong Kong people through the dark days ahead, they offered a reminder that seems equally appropriate for Christians in the politically fractured United States:

“The church is neither a political party or a political organization, therefore, political agendas or demands should not become the main focus of the church. However, when facing injustice and evilness in the society, the church should act as the social conscience and fulfil [sic] its prophetic role to denounce injustice, to proclaim the will of God, and to bear witness to truth.”




Brent Fulton is founder and catalyst of ChinaSource.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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