Christian Volunteers in Hong Kong Stand Between Police and Protesters, Hope to End the Violence
As protests for democratic reform continue to rage on in Hong Kong, Christian volunteers are putting themselves in the line of fire to keep protesters safe.
According to a BBC video titled “Doing God’s Work,” dozens of Hong Kong Christians are volunteering to stand between protesters and police – who have reportedly been aggressively violent toward the protesters.
Led by Good Neighbor North District Church pastor Roy Chan, dozens of Christians head out to protests each day and stand on the front lines of the upheaval.
“As Christians, when we see an unjust situation, we have to go out and guard the children,” Chan told the BBC.
“During this period (of protests), our church started the Protect the Children operation. We wear these yellow vests and fan out to different protest locations. Where there is conflict, we try to meditate, either between citizens and protesters or between protesters and police.
“As a Christian, this is what I can do for society, for God,” the pastor asserted.
At the scenes, the volunteers split up into groups of seven. Each group then forms a “human chain” as they attempt to belabor police advancement.
“That’s the self-sacrifice spirit. Beat us, don’t beat the kids,” Chan said.
The aim, the pastor noted, is for “Hong Kongers to not hurt Hong Kongers. And the policemen are Hong Kongers too, they have parents too.”
According to Chan, the group has garnered some attention, encouraging other people to volunteer, including non-Christians and people from “different sectors of society.”
“There are mothers and fathers, older people, and teenagers all working together,” he told the BBC.
As the protests – which started in June when China planned to implement a rule that would have allowed for extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China – have only grown more violent as time has passed. Despite the extradition rule being tabled in September, Hong Kongers are continuing to protest in the hopes of achieving overall democratic reform.
The BBC shows graphic footage of one of the volunteers being mercilessly kicked on the ground by police. Police later claimed that no abuse occurred.
According to Chang, the member of the group was attempting to help an elderly person, “but police caught him instantly.” He said, “they thought he was obstructing their execution of duties.”
When Chan tried to explain that there had been a misunderstanding, police used pepper spray on him and other volunteers.
As the violence grows, the clashes have begun to break out earlier in the day, making it hard for volunteers to mediate between opposing groups.
“Today the police moved in very fast. There was nothing much our group could do.”
“We saw officers beating protesters. We could only shout at the officers,” Chan recalled.
“If more people join us, I believe that we’ll be able to protect more children. We could talk more to both sides, and there would be fewer injuries. I believe our work is not totally ineffective. I believe that as we head out, with love, it will make more young people and Hong Kongers remain hopeful in these sad times,” Chan said.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Anthony Kwan/Stringer