HONG KONG - As Hong Kong commemorates the 10th anniversary of its historical handover to China this year, Christians will gather to pray for justice and democracy to prevail in society.
Organized by major Catholic and Protestant social organizations, the mass prayer event will be held at the landmark Victoria Park – with the city's Bishop, Cardinal Joseph Zen, and the HK Christian Council General Secretary, Rev. Ralph Lee Ting-sun, acting as guest speakers.
Last Friday, a coalition of various Christian organizations released to local media a written declaration in protest against injustice and lack of democracy in Hong Kong society after the handover 10 years ago.
The declaration was signed by: the seven organizers of the Justice and Peace Commission of HK Catholic Diocese; the HK Catholic Commission for Labor Affairs; the Student Christian Movement of HK; the HK Christian Institute; the HK Women Christian Council; Christians for HK Society; the HK Council of the Church of Christ in China.
The Jul. 1 prayer event continues a tradition that started after Hong Kong’ handover to China in 1997.
The first prayer, held under the theme was "We Concern but we Affirm", encouraged the city’s Christians take up Hong Kong’s burdens and pray for better hope for a brighter future with China.
However, over the last 10 years, the pace of the development of Hong Kong society has fallen short of expectation, some citizens say.
Organizers say that this year the prayer event will put focus on the plight of the vulnerable since more social programs are being introduced in Hong Kong --such as those that target the gap between rich and poor, poverty of the senior citizens, discrimination against minorities, and exploitation of domestic laborers.
Hong Kong has reunited with China for a decade, but the city's youth continue to show limited knowledge of their “mother country,” organizers say.
They encouraged the youth to learn more about China’s history, especially about Hong Kong’s experience as a British colony.
The prayer meeting will start this coming Sunday at 2 p.m. with worship, prayer, devotion and sermon. Afterwards, Christians will take to the streets with other citizens to rally for democracy.
[Editor’s note: Claudia Cheng from San Francisco translated this article, which was originally posted on the Hong Kong-edition of The Gospel Herald.]