Hong Kong (MNN) — Unrest continues in Hong Kong this week following protestors’ takeover of a Parliament building. Demonstrators physically assaulted the structure Monday morning, then broke in and occupied the property later that evening. Police began dispersing crowds and clearing the building of protestors shortly after midnight, the Associated Press reports.
Voice of the Martyrs USA spokesman Todd Nettleton recounts, “The protesters have hit again; apparently, on the legislature of Hong Kong…hundreds of thousands of people [were] marching in the streets.”
Yesterday marked the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China. According to BBC News, citizens observe the anniversary each year with pro-democracy events. However, Nettleton says this week’s developments underscore a bold message.
“‘We don’t want to be under Chinese law, we don’t want to be subject to the things that people in China are subject to under the Communist Party.’”
Protests began as a collective objection to the extradition law. Now, the demonstrators’ focus is much larger. A man identifying himself as “G” told BBC News, “The movement is now beyond the bill. It’s about the autonomy of Hong Kong.”
What’s going on in Hong Kong?
As explained here, the extradition law driving current protests threatened to transfer criminal cases to China instead of prosecuting them in Hong Kong. On June 14, officials bowed to protestors’ pressure and withdrew the law.
“It was seen as a victory for the protesters, a victory for freedom. [It was also viewed as a] separation of Hong Kong from Beijing and from the government there,” Nettleton says. These two have a long and complex relationship, he adds. Read here for more context.
“The people of Hong Kong are very aware of what goes on in China. They’re aware of the lack of freedom – both religiously, politically, and other ways – and they don’t want that. They like the autonomy that they have; they like [having] freedom.”
Although this situation is politically-focused, it could also affect ministry efforts.
Why does it matter?
Last week, Asian Access described Hong Kong believers’ influence as peacekeepers and prayer warriors amid ongoing protests. Today, Nettleton adds another perspective.
“I haven’t seen any specific ties to Christian leaders in Hong Kong or Christian leaders in China,” he admits. However, “there [are] a significant number of ministries and Gospel workers focused on China who are based in Hong Kong.
“A change in the situation for freedom there (in Hong Kong) … could affect many of those workers, many of those ministries.”
Header image courtesy of doctorho via Flickr.