A Letter from Hong Kong Christian Council to our Ecumenical Friends

20 June 2019
A Letter from Hong Kong Christian Council to our Ecumenical Friends
 
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Thank you for your continuous support and concern for Hong Kong which has given us comfort and strength. We treasure this ecumenical fellowship of faith. We share the following to keep you informed and ask for your continued prayers.
 
What has happened in Hong Kong?
  • The 2019 Hong Kong Extradition Bill was proposed to establish a mechanism for transfers of fugitives not only to Taiwan, but also to mainland China and Macau, which are not covered in the existing laws.
  • The proposal caused widespread criticism domestically and abroad from the legal profession, journalism organizations, business groups and foreign governments, fearing the further erosion of Hong Kong's legal system and its built-in safeguards.
  • Under this Bill, people fear there is the risk that HK citizens and foreign nationals passing through the city might be extradited to mainland China for trial where the legal system is quite different from Hong Kong.
  • Various protests have been launched in Hong Kong by the general public and legal communities.
  • The 9 June 2019 protest was attended by an estimated 1.03 million people.
  • On 12 June 2019, protests resumed following an announcement from the government that the Extradition Bill would continue its reading in the Legislative Council. In the afternoon, the police fired 150 rounds of tear gas, 20 beanbag shots, several rubber bullets and smoke bombs on protesters outside the Legislative Council complex though most of the protesters were unarmed and peaceful. Overnight, 2,000 protesters from religious groups held a vigil outside the government offices, with some singing hymns and joining in prayers. Various trade unions, businesses and schools also vowed to stage protests.
  • In the same day Hong Kong Chief Executive Mrs. Carrie Lam announced that the bill would be indefinitely delayed by, but not withdrawn.
  • On 16 June 2019, another mass protest took place, urging the government to withdraw the bill and the term “riot” in regard to the 12 June protest. The 16 June protest is estimated to have two million people participating. It would be the largest protest in Hong Kong's history.
  • On 18 June 2019 Chief Executive Mrs. Carrie Lam made a formal apology to citizens on the inadequate performance of the government.
  
What has HKCC done?
  • On 26 May the Hong Kong Christian Council issued a prayer and called the Christians of Hong Kong to pray for the challenge and future of Hong Kong.
  • The Hong Kong Christian Council held an emergency meeting with representatives of several denominations and church bodies to share and discuss together. We then issued an urgent appeal: request a prompt meeting with Mrs. Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive, and Hon. Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, Chairperson of the Legislative Council and to suspend the reading of the Extradition Bill.
  • As the Protestant representative in the Colloquium of Six Religions, HKCC joined the meeting of religious leaders from different faith groups (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestant Christianity) to meet the Chief Executive on 17 June. The Colloquium of Six Religions issued another appeal.
  • The Chairman of the Council joined with the Catholic leader Cardinal John Tong to issue a response to the press conference by the Chief Executive on 18 June.
 
Hong Kong Christian Council Request:
  • For the HK Government to listen to the demands of the people and to completely withdraw the Extradition Bill.
  • To withdraw the term "riot" for describing police-civilian conflicts on 12 June, as this has serious legal consequences for protesters.
  • To conduct a full review of government policy and administration.
 
Our Prayer Requests:
  • Wisdom for the government and strength to citizens.
  • Heal the distrust between citizens and government, restore harmony in the society.
  • Give hope to the whole community after experiencing this massive conflict.
  • Lead Christians and the Church to be effective witnesses in a society that is torn apart and fractured.
 
Elder Dr. Wong Fook-yee
Acting General Secretary