Mainstream media`s reporting on the Hong Kong protests has focused primarily on the politics of democracy versus communism. But we are learning that there is another dimension: faith.
Beijing`s decades-old effort to stamp out spiritual belief may finally be falling apart. We have known for some time that the number of Christians in China may be more than in the U.S. Estimates have consistently come in at over 100 million. That is in contrast to only three million card-carrying Communists. No wonder Beijing is worried.
It turns out that two of the three leaders of the Occupy Central movement are openly Christians. The 17-year-old leader of the students that joined the protests is also a Christian.
Of course, at this point it is difficult to determine which brand of "Christian," since the news reports do not distinguish between Protestant and Roman Catholics. However, there are statistics that claim over 400,000 Protestants as well as 330,000 Catholics in Hong Kong, out of about 7 million residents.
When the Occupy Central leaders first announced the pro-democracy demonstrations, it was in a church. The full name for the movement is: Occupy Central with Love and Peace, in the Christian spirit. One leader is a minister and another a Christian law professor. Many of the movement`s members were educated in Hong Kong`s Christian missionary schools. We are praying earnestly that the clamp-down in Hong Kong is not successful. The freedom enjoyed there has provided a window through which has flowed hundreds of thousands of gospel tracts.
While some of that literature ultimately ends up on the mainland, soul winners try to get tracts into the hands of the millions of affluent Chinese who come to Hong Kong every year to shop and vacation. We need to pray earnestly for God`s intervention in Hong Kong to keep that gateway open to the gospel. God has his "secret agents" operating behind enemy lines in China, and Hong Kong is a vital window to the over one billion Chinese people.
And many of the protesters are brothers and sisters in Christ who are risking their lives and livelihoods to protect what freedom they have. May we, in America, stop for a moment to cherish the freedoms we take for granted and redouble our efforts to protect them from a similar demonic ideology.