As history shows (Western Civilization; South Korea, predominantly Christians nations in Africa and South America; America itself) and as research empirical research has shown, the internal logic of Christianity tends towards liberal democracy, even a constitutional republic. China is finding this out these days (excerpt)…
The involvement of Protestants and Catholics in Hong Kong’s protest movement is an added concern for Beijing, which on the mainland has put in place an elaborate bureaucracy of agencies and state-approved religious bodies to monitor and control religious groups.
Hong Kong churches have long tried to spread Christianity in China. Protestant pastors based in Hong Kong have helped propagate the evangelical brands of Christianity that have alarmed the Chinese leadership in Beijing with their fast growth.
A religious group gathered in Hong Kong’s Admiralty area, a focal point of the pro-democracy protests, on Wednesday. Paul Beckett/The Wall Street Journal
About 480,000 Protestants and 363,000 Catholics live in Hong Kong, a city of about 7.2 million, according to government figures from 2013. Buddhists and Taoists make up the vast majority of the city, the government says. Many Hong Kongers have been educated through large networks of Catholic and Protestant schools.
That includes some protest leaders. Joshua Wong, the 17-year-old who is a public face of the rallies, was educated at one of the top Protestant-backed private schools in the city. Now in college, Wong was a 15-year-old student at United Christian College (Kowloon East) in 2012, when he led a movement called Scholarism that defeated the Hong Kong government’s plan to introduce patriotic education classes in schools.
Occupy Central leader Chu Yiu-ming is a Baptist minister, while founder Benny Tai is also a Christian. On Thursday, Mr. Tai declined to discuss his faith in detail, but he did call himself a “part time theologian” and said he could “write a thesis” on the topic of Christianity and the protests. “My faith is in the streets,” Mr. Tai added.
Wendy Lo, 21, was born in China’s Guangdong province but grew up in Hong Kong and became Christian after attending an Evangelical secondary school. The University of Hong Kong linguistics major says her bible study group this past weekend discussed how to interpret a biblical story in light of the protest movement. The chapter they read was about Queen Esther daring to approach the king without his permission.
“The story made me think about speaking up for myself,” said Ms. Lo. “If Hong Kong residents don’t speak up for ourselves, who will?”