Steve Yui-Sang Tsang’s Modern History of Hong Kong offers a perceptive 156-year historical look at how a small fishing port developed into the seventh largest stock exchange in the world while balancing the superpower influences of Imperial Britain and Communist China. Tsang has a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Oxford and currently serves at the AOAS China Institute for the University of London. Tsang’s inside-out narrative style transports the reader along a two-century cross-cultural journey. He shows how an obscure sea-port island that started as a “safe haven” for dissidents and political refugees survived and grew into a complex international metropolis that overcame the complex influences of British rule and Chinese influence.
The people of Hong Kong endured discrimination, poverty, wars, and inequalities. Nevertheless, their God-given spirit of existence helped them prosper and become a geo-specific socioeconomic culture that created its own global space; surviving the transition of power from Colonial rule into a Chinese Special Administrative Region. This post will look for ways to leverage Tsang’s historical insights and humanitarian themes to help prepare for the 2018 LGP Hong Kong Advance. My goal is to develop a Tsang-style viewing lens so that I can discern, respect, and see the current contextual leadership needs and ministry challenges in Hong Kong’s evolving global culture. Satan’s spiritual warfare influences are intertwined within Tsang’s historical narration and I will watch for examples of how this evolving Euro-Asian nation survived with just a small remnant of Christian believers.
Pattern says that Hong Kong is the “consequence of the opium trade, encouraged by Britain” so they could pay to rule India and buy goods from China. Pattern says there are three take-a-ways from Tsang’s book; (1) Hong Kong is liberal but not democratic, (2) Hong Kong is an open and modern society that wants to live in harmony with Confucian tradition, and (3) Hong Kong is engaged in a global economy that has made unparalleled economic and political progress. Tsang’s insights on “one country, two systems’ formula” adds to the complex context and conclusions on the book. This constitutional 1-2 principle was designed by the People’s Republic of China in the 1980’s. While a one-China socialistic theme drives the principle, their application allowed Hong Kong to retain a capitalist driven economy under its unique Colonial-Confucian mixes of political, legal, and religious identities. How do you lead through all of that? What type of Christian leadership makes the difference here? I deduce the basis for Hong Kong’s underlying success comes from dedicated servants and their ministry of presence and then their survival through struggles that reflect the image of Christ to others.
Morris says that Hong Kong was “always a base of Christian evangelicalism” citing New Life Literature as a proselytizing organization that helped move Bibles into mainland China. I found it interesting that Morris described Hong Kong as a “Rest and Recreation Center” for all occupations from weary American soldiers to “spiritually exhausted Christian missionaries.” Morris’s book shows how the West influenced Hong Kong’s advance in many ways. For example, the first Christian church (Baptist Chapel, 1842), the first ice (1847), the first 1,000 room hotel (Hong Kong Hilton, 1962), and the introduction of the first automobile. The ministry challenges are varied in scope and need. Hong Kong’s dominant religion is Buddhism and they provide large charitable and social welfare services from young to old. Next there is Taoism (simple living and harmony with nature), Confucianism (living under religious, ethical, and philosophical teachings), followed by Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, and Christianity (Roman Catholic and Protestant).
I had to search outside of Tsang’s book to get more information on the influence of the Basic Law but was encouraged to find that it guarantees the freedom of religion. I think it is good to know that since we are taking our LGP proselytizing Cohorts there in a few weeks! While Christianity was the only official religion, prior to the transfer of sovereignty, recent polls and government reports show only about 12% of the population who profess Christianity. Hong Kong Home Affairs Bureau lists Good Friday, Easter, Buddha’s Birthday, and Christmas as public holidays. They get three out of four at least for Christian holidays!
I think Hong Kong’s survival spirit comes directly from their Christian Colonial beginnings from both the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant church and missions that were established in 1841. The visible ministry of presence from the priests and pastors, brothers and sisters, parishes and churches, schools and kindergartens, and hospitals and drug rehabilitation centers were the “Christ-in-me” differences that made the difference. I served in similar contexts in Asia and Africa where the Buddhist’s or the Muslim’s fed the stomach of the needy with food, but it was the Christian’s who fed both the stomach with food and the soul with the Gospel hope of Christ. As of 2016 there are about 900,000 professing Christians in Hong Kong! I look forward to hearing from one of them, Jackie Pullinger, and the St. Stephens Society who meet and minister to the needs of many, including those with addictive behaviors. http://www.ststephenssociety.com/index.php
In conclusion this post helps me begin to see the tremendous leadership challenges and ministry needs for our LGP8 cohort who could-would be called to serve in Hong Kong or any Asian based honor-shame culture. Morris says the people of Hong Kong have a “powerful aptitude for belief.” They believe in gods, ghosts, signs, auguries, and supernatural faiths ranging from “sophisticated theological dogma to everyday superstition.” The underlying superstitions and fears in Hong Kong’s predominate honor-shame culture adds to their spiritual warfare problems and needs that I see as an opportunity for armor of God ministries. Please join me and “armor up” for our 2018 LGP8 Advance. We will be entering a fantastic ministry dimension that awaits our faithful obedience, faith, and service to God’s Kingdom.
Stand firm 立场坚定,