Asia Politics Sport the Church

Do Chinese Lives Matter? CT

This weeks article in Christian Today – you can read the original here…

Do Chinese lives matter?

(Photo: Unsplash/Pop&Zebra)

Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times“. Just a word of advice: don’t wear that on a T-shirt or even say it if you are visiting Hong Kong. It’s not just that it’s unwise; it is now illegal. Indeed it is illegal for any Hong Kong citizen to say that anywhere in the world – according to the Chinese government. It’s little wonder that Nathan Law, the young founder of one of the Hong Kong democracy groups, is leaving.

In 1997, the UK handed Hong Kong back to the Chinese government with a legal treaty guaranteeing a ‘one country two systems’ approach. This week China has just ripped up that treaty and declared that it is now against the law to speak out or campaign for democracy in Hong Kong.

The new national security law makes it against the law to criticise the Communist government, allows for closed door trials, wiretapping and for suspects to be taken to mainland China. The People’s Daily tweeted: “All of us are also happy to see a peaceful society coming back again in recent days. Hong Kong residents warmly welcome National Security Law.” This is an Orwellian interpretation of ‘peace’ and ‘all of us’.

Screenshot 2020-07-02 at 12.43.42

Why does all of this matter?

Hong Kong is a significant global city with many connections to the UK. It has a population of over 7.5 million people and a GDP of $362 billion – more than the nation of Denmark. Three million Hong Kong citizens either have or are eligible for a British National Overseas passport. After the imposition of the new national security law, the UK government announced that all three million would be eligible to come to the UK. Australia is also expected to announce that Hong Kong refugees will be welcome.

The Chinese government is furious and has stated that all Hong Kongers are Chinese nationals and will not be permitted to leave. In effect the Chinese government is going to turn Hong Kong into a giant prison camp. Some in the West hoped that the law would be passed but not acted upon. Some hope. Within hours of the law being passed, over 300 were arrested.

The CCP are able to do this not just because the world is distracted by the Covid-19 crisis, but because they have reckoned that no-one will stop them. Only the Americans have the economic and financial muscle to make any difference – and they are too busy tearing themselves apart.

Western Hypocrisy

Meanwhile much of the Western world, from academia and political leaders, to business and the big corporations, have been bought by the Chinese. Western ‘progressives’ are more than happy to bravely ‘call out’ the US for racism, but never say a word about the Chinese government’s brutal racism.

There is little doubt that the Chinese government is committing genocide against the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, north-west China, where gulags, forced abortions and sterilisations, the removal of children from parents, and the never-ending propaganda and brainwashing are threatening to erase the Uighur people. More than a million have been detained.

We know this. And yet we do nothing. China has a seat on the UN security council, it is a dominant voice in the WHO and numerous other international bodies – and we do nothing. Our politicians are largely silent and our corporations likewise. In fact, some go even further. For example, HSBC and Standard Chartered both made statements welcoming the new security laws, saying they will bring ‘stability’. These are corporations who prove their ‘woke’ credentials by speaking out for all the right causes but feel free to back an authoritarian, anti- democratic despotic regime.

Why? It’s all about the money. They’ve been bought and sold for Chinese gold. When banks supported the apartheid regime in South Africa, churches and other campaigners led a disinvestment campaign. Will the Church now do the same for HSBC and Chartered?

And what about the Church?

Why should we be concerned? Apart from the social justice issues and our concern for the peace of the world, there are almost a million of our Christian brothers and sisters in Hong Kong. Over 500,000 profess to be Protestant, with some 1,300 congregations in over 50 denominations. There are 384,000 Catholics. Many of the Christians are young people and many of them have been involved in the protest movements. Christians songs were often sung along with the other protest songs.

The CCP hates the Christian church and we can only fear for what the Christians in Hong Kong will face in the coming years. I have a number of contacts in Hong Kong as well as some people in my church who have relatives in the city. They are deeply concerned.

In one sense the situation in Hong Kong is a real test for the Church in the West, as indeed it is for the countries of the West. If we only have voices for the politically approved causes of our own culture, but no time for situations in a land far away, how are we reflecting the command of Christ to be salt and light in the whole world? Do we truly care or are we just interested in signalling our virtue in our own culture?

The English Premier League – has recently repented of its policy not to permit political statements on players’ shirts. It will be interesting to see if they now allow Mesut Ozil to wear a “Uighur Lives Matter” slogan on his shirt. When Ozil spoke out about the issue, the Chinese government pulled the plug on Arsenal’s fixture against Chelsea. The English Premier League (EPL) remained silent.

Wolverhampton are fully Chinese owned; Manchester City have 12% Chinese investors; Bournemouth and Crystal Palace have sponsorship deals with Chinese companies. The EPL has a £500 million deal to screen matches in China. When money talks, hypocrisy reigns. I suspect it will be a long time before any Premier League team is ‘taking the knee’ for the repressed people of Hong Kong – or the Uighurs.

I wonder if as well as money there is a more subtle form of racism at play here. We are more interested in America and the West, than we are with China and the East. Bill Hamilton, a leading biologist who had a profound effect upon Richard Dawkins, once declared that he would grieve more for the death of one giant panda than he would for “one hundred unknown Chinese”. It’s an extreme attitude but one that in other forms I have come across disturbingly frequently.

The Church is growing exponentially in China – with perhaps 100 million people following Christ. Do Chinese lives matter? They do to Christ – and they should to us.

David Robertson is director of Third Space in Sydney and blogs at

I speak more about this in the latest Quantum – Quantum 101 – Cancel Culture

What Can We Learn from the Chinese ‘Badass Beauty Queen’?

Answering the Bible critics who love to cite the laws in Leviticus – CT



  1. “Only the Americans have the economic and financial muscle to make any difference – and they are too busy tearing themselves apart.”

    When people across the globe, even unto Australia, believe everything they read in the NY Times, it makes it even more impossible for Trump to “make America great again”: the America that can stand up to the CCP on behalf of the people of Hong Kong. If you believe the lies of BLM and systemic racism in America, you are hammering another nail into the coffin that contains the people of Hong Kong.

    The US media is beholden to the CCP for access to the Chinese market, along with the natural inclination for our youths and youthful reporters to admire Maoism. See: Obama and his appointees, and all the youthful reporters who said what they were told to say by Obama and his appointees.

    When people across the globe mindlessly repeat the lies that Trump is “destroying democratic norms”, and that Trump called white supremacists “very fine people”, and that Trump is a boor with a big mouth and nobody likes him and neither do people like myself because I am a very fine person who must let people know I am a very fine person…. Congratulations: you just made it even harder for Trump to lead everyone of every color in America who does want to stand up against communism… to stand up against communism.

    You have contributed to the spasm of racialist purges that is tearing Americans apart.

    1. Please don’t assume that people across the globe read the NYT. Trump is not the only one to blame – but he is not blameless either. The US is tearing itself apart…

  2. I am so sad for our Hong Kong brothers and sisters. It is unconscionable what China has done. Just as they released Covid-19 on the world, now they are in effect annexing Hong Kong and allowing no dissent. I hope that the British and Americans and Australians join forces to do rescue flights from that country to freedom. It’s sad that they have to leave, but what’s sadder is that the UK signed the treaty trusting China’s word to begin with. Communists lie. That’s what they do. So no one anywhere should trust them.

  3. We speak to, and about, America because we still cherish the illusion that they are “our friends”, believe the same things we do, and can be expected to listen to us and be persuaded by argument – which is still formally permitted, whatever efforts either political side makes to silence the other. They have been our allies for so long we can’t conceive of the idea our interests have long diverged.

    We don’t think like that even about our closest (and, contra the “racist” point, majority white European) neighbours – not even the Irish, more nearly related than most of America by now. Our crude and belligerent rhetoric to, and about Europe, owes rather too much to our conviction that the US are our Big Brother and will see us right if any of them dare object.

    Nobody thinks sentimentally like that about China: as far as I know it has never been our ally, never been trusted, and never even pretended to share our values – nor is there any reason why they should, given e.g. the Opium Wars, unless one believes in a single (God-given or otherwise) Natural Law applicable to all. Yes there is probably racism involved, but Japan (not the same I know, but near equivalent in racist logic) hasn’t been that sort of an object of suspicion since the peace of 1945.

    And in neither case are we in a position to do anything other than talk uselessly: in the kingdoms of this world, America, China and Russia are currently the Great Powers and everyone else is merely at best spectators, at worst a battlefield. Canada is having a go – pretty brave for a country bang between all three of them! – but who will back them up if the CCP turns nasty?

    Going to be a skilled PR job convincing our own home-grown racists that British pride outpoints their newly-triumphant “England for the English” Brexit dream and obliges us to welcome in however many HK-ers it turns out to be. I don’t know how authentic the “interesting times” story is – but we are certainly living in some now.

  4. Thanks for writing this David.

    Just recently I was part of a Christian meditation group with international members led by someone in Hong Kong. The issues in the States were discussed with an American member pushing the prevailing narrative. I made a contribution to the discussion which wasn’t welcomed. Rather than capitulate with the narrative, I asserted that if I wasn’t welcome with such view then there are other people and groups who can benefit from my presence. The leader of the group apologised, said he couldn’t stop others who were being unrepentant and decided to close the group.

    China and Hong Kong does help us get things into perspective with events in the UK and US. Of course what you are picking up on is “he who pays the piper calls the tune” with a Chinese hegemony and money talking. The only thing a bully understands is strength and it is true for a group or a country as it is for an individual which is why we need military defence.

    So, yes Hong Kong, China with people carrying the image of God as anywhere else and therefore in principle, equal and with dignity. Or any other part of the world, mostly Christian farmers, say in Nigeria and mostly muslim herdsmen.

    I suppose my question David is in the light of this, what are we to do? Being aware of a problem doesn’t do anything to bring about a solution. So what now? Is it enough to not be polluted by the world? I think it requires action but then what action with so many injustices? Where do you start?

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