Lost amidst other major world events—such as the continuing war in Ukraine, an upsurge in covid and monkeypox cases, and the overturn of Roe vs Wade—was the quiet passing of the 25th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong as a British colony back to Communist China on July 1st. Despite the assurances of mainland China that the civil, political, and economic freedoms Hong Kong had enjoyed under the British for 150 years would remain intact until 2047, there was much trepidation among its citizens who fled by the droves to London and Vancouver.
This political experiment called “one country, two systems” was unprecedented, especially back in 1997. Hong Kong was a global financial hub in the ’90s standing toe-to-toe with New York, Tokyo, and London. Can a Communist Party properly manage and sustain a democracy and a free market economy? Will China turn into Hong Kong or the reverse? Most importantly, would they keep their word?
Now we have the answers. In 2020, China introduced the national security law and electoral reforms, which effectively limited government posts to Beijing loyalists. Monuments to the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre have been removed. Pro-democracy news agencies have been closed. Hong Kong does not even rank in the top ten cities in China economically. The history of the city is being rewritten in school textbooks denying it was a British colony.
As Hong Kongers felt the vice grip gradually tighten, hundreds of thousands took to the streets to protest. This became known as the Umbrella Movement in 2014, when locals used umbrellas to shield themselves from tear gas. The situation escalated during the second half of 2019, which saw the largest and most violent demonstrations in the city. The pandemic and police crackdown combined effectively silenced the protests. There are now more than 1,000 political prisoners in Hong Kong.
Twenty-five years later, Beijing had broken its promise and is fully in control.
Our pastor in Hong Kong attests to the fear that has spread. People are scared and frustrated in different ways. At the courts, there are trials almost every other day that are related to past protests. There are pictures taken in the airport departure hall every day, that friends and families are leaving their home and their city, seeking to live new lives afar. For those who are staying in the city, they are struggling to adapt to the new reality involving changes in politics and education. The city is quietly waiting for the pain to hurt less, also for the memory to fade out.
Please pray that there will be restoration and reconciliation for Hong Kong. Pray that the LORD will turn the mourning to dancing. Apart from Jesus, “we can do nothing.”
Nevertheless, churches continue to meet despite tightening restrictions. They are banding together in prayer for their beloved city, believing that as they make a stand for righteousness, justice will flow like the waters (Amos 5:24).
- Let us stand with the people of Hong Kong as they hope for the liberties that were promised to them.
- Let us agree with the churches in Hong Kong as they activate believers in prayer. Pray that this would lead to a spirit of unity among the body of Christ in Hong Kong leading to righteousness, victory, justice, and freedom.
- Pray against the spirit of violence. Let us intercede against the forces that are trying to take advantage of the situation by unleashing a spirit of violence on both sides.
- Pray for peace, justice, freedom, and righteousness to prevail in Hong Kong.
Every Nation is a global family of churches and campus ministries, of which Victory is a founding member.
We are called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This is the reason we value world missions as a church and persistently pray for the nations every month.
To learn more about this situation, you can check the news and resources in the links below.
- BBC article on the possible future of Hong Kong
- Explainer from the History channel website on how Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997
- NBC News article on the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China and what has happened since
- An article from The Associated Press on the state of Hong Kong 25 years after the British returned it to China