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Challenges For Christians In Hong Kong

by | Tue, Jan 17 2023

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Underground churches are continuing to grow in Hong Kong despite increasing repression of religious freedom dictated by Beijing.

While most churches in the former British colony are conducted in Cantonese one pastor is reaching out to Mandarin speakers who are mostly from mainland China.

David is a native Mandarin speaker and saw a big demand from this group to hear the Gospel.

He started a small home group made up of recent arrivals from China.

The fellowship grew as he shared the Gospel with no restrictions or fear of reprisal from Hong Kong authorities.

But that suddenly changed after the 2019 pro-democracy protests and China broke its promise to govern Hong Kong under the One Country, Two Systems principle for 50-years.

Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law that gave it new powers to punish critics and silence dissenters.

That’s forced churches like Pastor David’s to go underground and operate in secrecy.

He believes the increased persecution is part of his faith.

“For us Christians, following Jesus means going through all kinds of trials and difficulties. Just read the Bible,” he said.

But many Christians are fleeing Hong Kong with 300 members leaving one church.

CBN News reports that in 2020 China’s president Xi Jinping picked his close ally Xia Baolong to be Beijing’s representative in Hong Kong.

Xia is a well-known hardliner who has targeted China’s underground Christian community including a campaign that led to thousands of crosses being destroyed at churches.

While the future of Hong Kong’s religious freedom hangs in the balance, Pastor David remains optimistic and sees more opportunities to share Christ’s love.

An unprecedented number of Mandarin-speaking people have moved to the territory from the mainland since Beijing took over.

“We’ve never had this many Mandarin-speaking people in the city before. You can hear them walking around on the streets, the subways, it’s a great time to reach them,” David told CBN News.

He believes that despite political and security uncertainties, Hong Kong churches are united like never before and will continue to share a message of hope.

“There is nothing that’s going to happen that’s going to stop the church. Nothing. No matter how repressive, how domineering, no matter how demanding, nothing will stop God’s work. God doesn’t change. His message doesn’t change. His church doesn’t change,” he said.