Persecuted Believers in Hong Kong Worship With a Hymn as Chinese Officials Attack Them

Anti-government demonstrators attend a protest march in Hong Kong, China, Oct. 20, 2019. (Reuters)

For several months, Christians around the world, along with Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC), which advocates on behalf of hundreds of millions of persecuted Christians worldwide, have watched Christians in Hong Kong make a courageous stand for freedom and justice.

Now, Save the Persecuted Christians coalition partners are signing a joint "Statement of Solidarity with Hong Kong's Christians and All Those Who Long for Freedom" to be delivered to their brothers and sisters in Christ in Hong Kong.

"We have been concerned that churches and Christian organizations in the United States have not made a united appeal on behalf of the people of Hong Kong as China attempts to run roughshod over their democracy and, especially, their religious freedom," said letter author and STPC coalition partner, Faith McDonnell, in a note sent by Dede Laugesen, executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians, to the organization's rapidly expanding grassroots base of believers, church leaders and other civil society leaders. "We believe a statement of solidarity is needed, and that now is the time."

The statement, in part, reads:

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You have been in our thoughts and prayers as you seek to keep the People's Republic of China's Communist leaders from violating Hong Kong's fragile semi-independence with measures designed to bring the people of Hong Kong under their control. We have been particularly concerned, along with you, about the PRC's desire to extradite Hong Kong citizens, as well as foreigners, to mainland China, knowing that this technique would certainly be used by the Communist regime against Christians and other religious believers.

When we heard you sing, "Sing Alleluia to the Lord" as Hong Kong police and Chinese agents attacked you and demonized you, our hearts were deeply touched, and we were reminded that we are one body in Christ together. You have shown the world that the hunger for freedom springs from something in the human spirit that the Creator, God, has put there with that simple praise song, along with your love for what you believe is the best part of American culture—our democracy, our love of freedom, our national anthem, and our American flag.

We are impressed by your continued thoughtfulness and respect for your fellow Hong Kongers and all those who travel through Hong Kong such as you have shown in your poignant signs of apology for any inconvenience caused to travelers by your own fight for freedom, and by your recent efforts to enable both autos and pedestrians to continue moving on Hong Kong's streets in spite of the thousands and thousands of protesters lining those streets. Your dignity and nobility as you suffer for a just cause is a witness to the whole world, and is in stark contrast to those in the West who take their freedom for granted.

We were also deeply moved when, out of respect for America, you halted your protests to commemorate 9/11 with us. We thank you that, as Scripture says, you have "wept, when we are weeping, and mourn, when we are mourning."

In turn, we pledge to you our prayers and our support, our solidarity and our advocacy. We pray and raise our voices in advocacy for Chinese Christians and for all of those in China, including pro-democracy dissidents, Falun Gong, Uyghurs and the people of Tibet that are oppressed, persecuted and imprisoned by the Communist regime. And we pledge to do the same for our friends and fellow freedom lovers in Hong Kong. We ask God to protect your fragile freedom and not allow this small bastion of religious liberty for Christians to be compromised and oppressed. We also urge the United States government to stand more strongly and more vocally with the people of Hong Kong until your full freedoms are safe and democracy is guaranteed.

Jesus promised that a day is coming when 'they will come from the East and the West, from the North and the South, and they will sit down in the Kingdom of God.' When that day comes, we want to be able to sit at God's table with our brothers and sisters from Hong Kong, knowing that we have stood with you in the time of oppression and persecution, and have done all that we could to support your freedom."

Those organizations who have signed the statement sponsored by the Institute on Religion & Democracy include: Save the Persecuted Christians; China Aid; Common Ground Christian Network; East Turkistan National Awakening Movement; New Wineskins Missionary Network; Jubilee Campaign USA; "The Eric Metaxas Show"; Center for Security Policy; Global Strategic Alliance; St. Paul Lutheran Church; Yore Children; KBRG-The Bridge Radio Station; Alert Long Island; Venatus Group, Inc.; Trinity Lutheran Church; Open Doors USA; The Praying Peripatetic; Texanoma Patriots; Correll Missionary Ministries; GracePointe Community Church; Moral Action Ministry; Exodo; the Christian Activist Network of New England and more.

The letter remains open for others to join.

"All are welcome to join us in standing with these precious people," say STPC coalition partners.

Letter signer and STPC coalition partner ChinaAid stepped up protests against China in the wake of a tweet by the Houston Rockets' general manager by sponsoring tickets and "Free Hong Kong" T-shirts for 100 attendees of the Oct. 18 Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Joe Tsai, owner of the Brooklyn Nets, penned an open letter in support of China's opposition to Hong Kong freedom Fighters.

"This is an example of the Chinese Communist Party using its economic power to interfere with American free speech," said Bob Fu, President of ChinaAid and a member of STPC's board of directors. "We must never allow China to buy our freedom of speech."

The mission of Save the Persecuted Christians is to save lives and save souls by disseminating actionable information about the magnitude of the persecution taking place globally and by mobilizing concerned Americans for the purpose of disincentivizing further attacks on those who follow Jesus.

According to Aid to the Church in Need's biannual report on Religious Freedom in the World, over 300 million Christians experience persecution. According to Open Doors USA World Watch List, 245 million Christians are victims of high to extreme levels of persecution (i.e., torture, rape, sex-slavery, expulsion, murder and genocide), an increase of 14% over 2018. Open Doors also estimates 1 in 9 of the world's Christians experience persecution and that every month: 345 Christians are killed, often in public and without regard to gender or age; 219 Christians are abducted and imprisoned indefinitely without trial and 106 churches are demolished.

Save the Persecuted Christians has developed a dedicated news aggregator—ChristianPersecutionNews.com—to capture current instances of persecution and to provide readers with an easy way to share these heartbreaking stories with others. Stories are categorized and resource reports are easily accessible.

With so much of the world's Christian population being attacked, imprisoned and/or exiled for their beliefs, such as Christians in Hong Kong, the need has never been greater for the sort of grassroots campaign STPC's SaveUs Movement is working to foster. Its efforts are modeled after a miraculously successful one that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution—Soviet Jews—by penalizing those in the Kremlin responsible for such repression. Through this movement, Save the Persecuted Christians endeavors to provide American policymakers with the popular support they need to effect real change worldwide and alleviate systemically the suffering being experienced by so many of those following Christ.

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