When thousands flooded the streets of Hong Kong late last month to protest the Chinese government’s encroachment on the city’s political autonomy, demonstrators were quick to claim many common beliefs: a love of freedom, a support for Hong Kong’s unique status within China, and a passionate belief in democracy.
But as the protests stretch into their third week, many participants have discovered that they are also unified by something else: their Christian faith.
As several news outlets have noted, the leadership of Hong Kong’s burgeoning protest movement — which seeks to preserve the city’s right to elect its own politicians without interference from the Chinese government — is headed up by several self-identified Christians. One of the effort’s most prominent leaders, for example, is Jason Wong, the 17-year-old student activist who achieved fame for leading several student demonstrations in Hong Kong before helping organize the recent pro-democracy protests. Although Wong, an evangelical Christian who attended United Christian College in Hong Kong, has said that his activism is primarily about protecting Hong Kong’s democratic process, he has also rooted his advocacy in a distinctly Christian theology.
“I believe in Christ,” Wong told PRI. “I believe everyone [is] born equal. And they’re loved by Jesus. And I think that everyone, therefore, should get equal rights in the political system. And we should care [for] the weak and poor in our society.”