News | International
16 Jul 2019 8:07
NZCity News
NZCity CalculatorReturn to NZCity

  • Start Page
  • Personalise
  • Sport
  • Weather
  • Finance
  • Shopping
  • Jobs
  • Horoscopes
  • Lotto Results
  • Photo Gallery
  • Site Gallery
  • TVNow
  • Dating
  • SearchNZ
  • NZSearch
  • Crime.co.nz
  • RugbyLeague
  • Make Home
  • About NZCity
  • Contact NZCity
  • Your Privacy
  • Advertising
  • Login
  • Join for Free

  •   Home > News > International

    Hong Kong Christians turn 'Sing Hallelujah to the Lord' into unlikely protest anthem

    The fear of police brutality loomed over Hong Kong's uprising this week. But when Christians broke out in song, a legal loophole was triggered and an unlikely protest anthem was born.


    Over four balmy nights outside Hong Kong's main government building, 28-year-old Freeman Leung sat on the ground among fellow Christians and sang a hymn over and over.

    It was the same hymn that Christians in the Chinese territory had been singing for the past two weeks.

    Sometimes they were joined by non-believers at protest rallies both large and small.

    "Christians started turning up at protests to sing 'Sing Hallelujah To The Lord' in case there was the chance of violence when police wanted to disperse protesters," Mr Leung said.

    "But once they started singing, everyone became calm."

    Hong Kong's recent protests have waxed and waned between extraordinary street marches of up to 2 million people and days where barely 100 people turned up.

    But throughout it all, the same 1970s American Easter hymn has been resonating through the demonstration sites.

    The unlikely protest anthem has even been embraced by non-religious protesters.

    "It's a very simple hymn, everyone can sing it," said Edwin Chow, the chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students.

    Christian groups are not taking credit for the uprising against a proposed bill which would have allowed Hong Kong citizens to be sent to mainland China for trial.

    But Christian demonstrators have had a constant presence, which some other demonstrators likened to protection.

    "Some non-Christians have been singing 'Hallelujah' too because in Hong Kong, a religious gathering can't be deemed by police as an illegal assembly," Mr Chow said.

    "Through singing the hymn, you can see it helps protect other demonstrators."

    Hong Kong's Christians fear extradition to the mainland

    Religious groups in Hong Kong have extra incentive to oppose the city government's plan to send suspects to face Communist party-controlled courts on the mainland.

    China's constitution supposedly safeguards religious freedom.

    But the Communist Party has launched sporadic crackdowns on churches, including a series of demolitions in recent years carried out by local governments across China.

    Many of the country's top human rights dissidents are Christians, including prominent jailed lawyer Wang Quanzhang and the exiled activist Chen Guangcheng.

    Political leaders on the mainland must eschew signs of religious beliefs to affirm their atheist credentials.

    Other religious groups — particularly Muslims in the country's far-west — have been the subject of highly expansive government campaigns aimed at ensuring the loyalty of believers is with the Communist Party first.

    In Hong Kong there have long been links between the pro-democracy activists and in particular the Catholic Church, which has a decades-long unresolved dispute with China's Government over the right to ordain bishops.

    The city's most prominent young political activist, Joshua Wong, is a devout Christian, as are many older members of the pan-democratic camp.

    "Some Christians, including me, are afraid that if the extradition bill is passed, it could affect freedom of religion in Hong Kong and freedom of religious activities," Mr Chow said.

    He believes it is this fear that has mobilised a larger-than-normal turn-out among the city's Christians, who number around 900,000 — or about 12 per cent of the population.

    But there have been rumblings among some younger protesters that church leaders, particularly Protestants, have refrained from adding their voices to the movement because they are too close to the pro-Beijing establishment.

    Lina Chan from the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese said churches are divided over what role they should take.

    "Some believe they should be taking a leading role, but others think they should be more balanced and non-political," Ms Chan said.

    "On this issue, there have been more people urging the church to be active and speak up."

    One of the Protestant churches in the city that organised prayer events was Hong Kong's Methodist Church, which opened its doors late for protesters who wanted to rest.

    "In the past, a lot of people say we Christians just hid ourselves in the church, but actually we are quite involved and quite concerned about the things happening in our society," said Douglas Lee, one of the event organisers.

    He believes the past few weeks have been an awakening — even for believers who usually shy away from politics.

    "Some people believe we Christians shouldn't be involved in politics, but what we care about is the people themselves," he said.

    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


     Other International News
     16 Jul: Donald Trump accuser E Jean Carroll says 'no woman should be scared of coming forward'
     16 Jul: Bones found on NSW beach belong to missing French backpacker, police say
     16 Jul: Cotton On and Target investigate suppliers after forced labour of Uyghurs exposed in China's Xinjiang
     15 Jul: Partial lunar eclipse to kick off 'moon festival'
     15 Jul: 1984 pointed to a dark future — but Brave New World and Network were even more prescient
     15 Jul: Why did England win the Cricket World Cup final despite being level with New Zealand after the super over?
     15 Jul: Tour de France: Daryl Impey sprints to victory for Australian team Mitchelton Scott
     Top Stories

    RUGBY RUGBY
    All Blacks captain Sam Cane concedes the Pumas have a head start in preparation for the opening game of the Rugby Championship this weekend More...


    BUSINESS BUSINESS
    A change is underway, for where and how Aucklanders live More...



     Today's News

    Motoring:
    The main route between Christchurch and Nelson... is now open 7:57

    Law and Order:
    A Palmerston North tenant who left cannabis plants in the lounge during an open home has been evicted 7:57

    Business:
    A change is underway, for where and how Aucklanders live 7:47

    Entertainment:
    Naomi Campbell disinfects her seat and wears a mask when she flies 7:39

    Health & Safety:
    Hundreds of people have been contacted as health officials track measles in Wellington 7:27

    Business:
    There are hopes a multi-million dollar Super Fund investment, will help the tourism industry fill demand for visitor beds 7:17

    Accident and Emergency:
    A person has been critically hurt and taken to hospital after a crash in Tauranga 7:17

    Entertainment:
    Heidi Klum will reportedly have another wedding on board a yacht next month 7:09

    Rugby League:
    Former Kiwis and Warriors wing Manu Vatuvei has announced his retirement from rugby league, a month after it was revealed a brain cyst has ended his prospects of a boxing career 6:57

    Entertainment:
    Jessica Simpson tries to have date night with her husband at least once a week 6:39


     News Search






    Power Search


    © 2019 New Zealand City Ltd