Christian hymn rings out across Hong Kong protests
Sing Hallelujah to the Lord
July 3, 2019 – A gentle Christian chorus rang out among people protesting in Hong Kong since early June.
Hong Kong essentially operates as an independent country and is considered a “Special Administrative Region” of China.
But pro-democracy activists say an extradition bill, put forward by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, threatens their independence and would allow China to extradite dissidents to mainland China.
“It is seen as breaking down the firewall between Hong Kong’s independent judicial system’s impartial rule of law based in protection of human rights and China’s arbitrary justice system controlled by the political determinations of the Chinese Communist Party,” says former Canadian diplomat to China, Charles Burton.
According to The New York Times, Christians are concerned the extradition bill could affect their community, especially those who support the underground church on the mainland.
But it’s not only Christians who are singing the hymn. The simple chorus has caught on with secular protesters, too. A Reuters reporter tweeted a sign reading “Stop Using Batons Or We Sing Hallelujah To The Lord!” – a signal that the protesters want to remain peaceful.
BEST #extradition protest poster: “Stop Using Baton Or We Sing Hallelujah To The Lord”
Photo by my colleague @jamespomfret @Reuters pic.twitter.com/zhUIY3Iuft
— SJ (@SijiaJ) June 16, 2019
Non-Christian protestors are protecting themselves with the Christian hymn. “By singing this song repeatedly, it facilitates us to stay calm and meditate,” says Edwin Chow, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Christian Students. “Religious activities are not restricted under the Public Order Ordinance, so we can be protected from being caught or prosecuted of illegal assembly. The activity of singing this peaceful hymn acts as a shelter to us.”
On July 1st, the 22nd anniversary of the handover from British law to Chinese rule, protesters broke into the Legislative Council, with pent up frustration that their voices were not being heard.
Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, who was just released from prison on June 17th, says the break in was not a riot, but a last-ditch attempt to reverse the bill.
19. The protesters who broke into the Legislative Council complex were NOT rioters. They were NOT violent. Their objective was never to harm any individuals. They wanted to make the regime hear Hong Kongers’ voice, and they had no other option. WE ALREADY TRIED EVERYTHING ELSE.
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 (@joshuawongcf) July 2, 2019
Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, claims the bill is necessary, as China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan have no formal extradition treaty. Lam shelved the extradition bill on June 18th but protesters still want it completely withdrawn.