Since protests began more than 12 weeks ago over an extradition bill that would allow Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China for trial, the city’s Christian community has taken an active role.
Groups of Christians regularly participate in the marches that have coursed through Hong Kong’s streets every weekend since June, and their pleas for peaceful protests and their hymns and prayers are often heard along with protest chants. One hymn, “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord,” written in 1974, has caught on as an anthem of the protests, sung by believers and nonbelievers alike.
The Christian hymn not only inspires: It grants the protesters some protection under a technicality in Hong Kong law of public assembly that exempts religious gatherings.
The bill that brought the protesters out into the streets has since been suspended, but the demonstrations have continued, turning into a larger campaign for democracy and for maintaining the “one country, two systems” model agreed upon when the former British colony returned to China in 1997.