Click headline for full article.Missionworks Presentation, Oct 2, 2008
Hong Kong changed from a British colony back to the sovereignty of China in 1997. Now 10 years later, how is Hong Kong doing? Is it better off now than it was in 1997?
Yes. Why? Because 10 years after the handover, the city is no longer a "borrowed place" on "borrowed time". However confused the people were about their identity, they now know they are citizens of China and they are proud of China's economic and social progress. They were very happy with the job that China did with the Olympics.
Hong Kong is also better off in 2008 because of what it went through for the past 10 years - the Asian financial crisis, bird flu, SARS, and the threat of anti-subversion laws that brought a half million protesters to the street. Through it all, Hong Kong people learned they are resilient and resourceful, and when push comes to shove, they can rise to the occasion.
In terms of politics, back in 1997 we weren't sure whether China would keep its promise to abide by the 'one country, two systems' policy. But for the most part, China has honoured that agreement. And Hong Kong appreciates that it has more freedoms and legal protection than any other city in China.
A thorny political issue is the pace of democratic elections in Hong Kong. Activists are pushing for universal suffrage of the Chief Executive and the full Legislature. Hong Kong is mature enough to choose its own leaders, but most people are not willing to anger Beijing by pushing too hard. We hope that one day universal suffrage will become a reality.
10 years ago, Hong Kong people didn't know what the future held. But now in 2008, they know who they are and what they have. They also know what they need to do: keep up their tri-lingual tradition, keep their competitive edge, increase revenue base, address the big wealth gap, revamp public health and protect the environment.
How will the church respond to all these challenges? The Hong Kong Christian Council, where I serve, has always tried to be a progressive voice, building bridges between churches, institutions and other faiths to serve the people in the name of Jesus Christ. HKCC has programs for church unity, social concerns, interfaith relations, pastoral training in mainland China, and disaster relief/development.
My ministry is in Communications with ecumenical radio, publications, environmental concern and English workshops for pastors. I want to be a voice that carries the Word back and forth between your hearts and the hearts of the people of Hong Kong and China. Thank you for the privilege of serving Global Ministries in mission. May this prayer from our General Secretary Ralph Lee be yours as well:
May God bless the Hong Kong Christian Council as it seeks to bring churches together to do what the Lord requires: to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God.