Nearly 2 million people gathered on the streets of Hong Kong to participate in a mass protest against a controversial extradition bill that could see residents sent to mainland China to stand trial.
Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, suspended the bill on Saturday and followed that up with a rare apology the next day. In it, she admitted "deficiencies" in the government's work had led to "substantial controversies and disputes in society, causing disappointment and grief among the people."
Hong Kong has been governed under a “one country, two systems” formula since 1997, when Britain returned control of Hong Kong to China. As a result, Hong Kong has enjoyed privileges not granted to China, including an independent judiciary, increased protections, and fewer restrictions on freedom of expression.
Determined to preserve the systems it inherited from Britain, which included freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and eventually, free elections, protestors are calling on Lam to resign — and for the bill to be scrapped, not merely suspended.
Videos posted on social media show thousands of protestors singing “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord,” a Christian song that has become the unofficial anthem of the protests.
And despite the arrest of 32 protestors, the demonstrations aren’t likely to end anytime soon: Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), the organizers of the protests, said they will continue until the government withdraws the extradition bill in its entirety, releases arrested protesters and withdraws all charges, retracts the characterization of the protests as a "riot" and forces Lam to resign.
"Should the government refuse to respond, only more Hong Kongers will strike tomorrow," CHRF said, according to Asia News.
Christians have been among the leading forces behind the protests in Hong Kong, and several influential evangelical and Catholic leaders have participated in the demonstrations.
Here are the reactions of several Christian leaders to what is being recognized as the largest protest in Hong Kong's history.