Guest / Limited Access /

At a politically sensitive time for Hong Kong, Christians in the city of 6.8 million people find themselves on the defensive over comments made by an international charismatic satellite broadcaster.

U.S.-based God TV first aired its programs in Great Britain in 1995, and quickly became Europe's first daily Christian broadcast network. Organizers claim the ministry can now reach a potential 120 million viewers in 212 countries via 11 satellites. After signing a one-year contract with the Hong Kong company Cable TV, God TV began broadcasts in Hong Kong in January.

Many in Hong Kong are already nervous. This spring Communist Party leaders rebuffed demands by Hong Kong democrats for universal suffrage in 2007. About 400,000 residents marched the streets on July 1, the seventh anniversary of the handover to China.

Controversy erupted in May, however, after God TV appealed for viewers to mail videos of the network into mainland China. The Christian community in Hong Kong, about 10 percent of the population, is divided over the appeal.

"Sending videos doesn't help the Chinese believers who don't have the opportunity to ask questions," said a pastor who requested anonymity. "It raises suspicions of [the] Chinese government, and undoubtedly it creates more mistrust from Beijing about the Hong Kong churches."

However, Dennis Balcombe, an unofficial adviser to God TV and pastor of Hong Kong's Revival Christian Church, does not see any harm in the appeal. "China is much more open than most people think," Balcombe said. "And this station is not political or anti-China. People do carry Bibles to China without any problems. I don't see any problem with that."

In China, foreigners are not allowed to proselytize. In the mainland province of Guangdong, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedHong Kong Christians Lead Protests for Democracy
Hong Kong Christians Lead Protests for Democracy
As the island city braces for another week of gridlock, faith is in the foreground.
TrendingMark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
Mark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
"I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission."
Editor's PickBless This Tackle? Not a Prayer
Bless This Tackle? Not a Prayer
Christians’ misguided fight for football devotions isn’t working.
Comments
Christianity Today
Loose Lips
hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2004

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.