Democracy can’t save Hong Kong

After months of increasingly violent protests in Hong Kong, the city is no closer to resolving its deep-seated identity crisis. Questions of ‘what does it mean to be a Hong Konger’ and ‘ought Hong Kong be Chinese or British’ remain unanswered.

Growing up as a child of immigrants from Hong Kong, I gathered the notion that I was an Australian-Born Chinese or abbreviated as an ABC. If having the challenging dilemma of eastern values clashing with western culture was not enough being a part of everyday life, now many ABCs face an even greater question of identity with the definition of Chinese on the firing line.

It is fact that Hong Kong is and has been a part of China even during its century of British occupation, but the growth of cultural differences that ensued from colonisation remains evermore present today. With recent political unrest in Hong Kong, a small but increasing number of the city’s residents are seeking protection under the United Kingdom in wanting to become British Nationals (Overseas).

Protestor cries of “liberate Hong Kong” and “revolution of our times” are nearly as frequent as the claims of police brutality in the crackdown against the demonstrations. With tens of thousands of protestors taking to the streets every week including some marching to the United States embassy seeking the assistance of President Trump, Hong Kong is a deeply divided city that will take more than the communist Chinese government acceding to protestor demands to heal.

Identity crisis

With the heavy-handed tactics of the Chinese government bearing down on Hong Kong in recent decades, the calls for the city to be independent from mainland China grow louder by the day.

But the tension in Hong Kong raises a more personal conundrum of who and what I am. Should I change my acronym to ABHK or keep it as ABC?

While many continue to struggle with their identity crisis, I have been blessed to have found freedom in Christ. For it is Jesus that can set us free, not even democracy can give us true freedom. It is only through Jesus Christ can we be liberated from this fallen world.

But whether it may be conflict with the communist Chinese government or the storm of the tough police crackdown, the Hong Kong people will never succeed if they rely solely on themselves in pursing true freedom.

A microcosm

The answer to whether I am an ABC or ABHK is not as important as it seems.

I believe that God is our heavenly father and He is the only one that brings true freedom. Not only does God provide liberation from sin, He gives us a place to belong and to call home. A home that will be eternal and not subject to passports or questions of nationality.

In following the chaos in Hong Kong, the spirit of God spoke to me through the words in Lauren Daigle’s hit song ‘Look Up Child’, as a reminder of how He is calling people to Him, no matter the circumstances. We are God’s children and by Him we are set free.

Look up child
Look up…

You’re not threatened by the war
You’re not shaken by the storm
I know You’re in control
Even in our suffering
Even when it can’t be seen
I know You’re in control

 Many people in Hong Kong have adopted a new “national anthem” bringing to life their struggles against the communist Chinese government. The highly emotive “May Glory be to Hong Kong” song has been a hit with lyrics of “for the tears that we shed on this soil, for the anguish we had in this turmoil, we keep our heads up, our voices strong, may freedom root in Hong Kong”.

But it is unfortunate that many see that the fight for freedom can be won through human means.

The Hong Kong protests in recent months arguably now shows signs of fanaticism with a “religious tune” whether that be with the appropriation of the Christian hymn “Sing hallelujah to the Lord” or the highly devotional mindset to “Be Water” in consistently flooding the streets with leaderless protests. As much as the violence ought to be admonished, the Hong Kong protesters do also remind us of the constant need to be committed in our walk with Christ.

And even through the Hong Kong government’s recent withdrawal of the controversial Extradition Bill in a significant compromise, Christians can be reminded on how one can actually be soaring in surrender. Jesus freely gave up His freedom by becoming man as He traded glory for a twisted crown of thorns.

The Hong Kong protests are really a reminder of how as Christians, we are foregoing our earthly battles of identity and belonging to have surrendered it all to Christ who gives us freedom. By looking up to God, we are saying that we that it is not through our human efforts or struggles, but rather we believe that Jesus surrendered his freedom gives us true liberation from the conflict in this world.

Only Jesus can provide the true freedom that can save the people of Hong Kong. It is my prayer for Hong Kong, that the need to protest will be over and the peace will reign in this world. May your kingdom come Lord!

This article was first published at Christian Today Australia on Thursday 3 October 2019