Christians in the British crown colony of Hong Kong are banding together to prepare for rule by the People’s Republic of China. An accord signed by China and Great Britain late last year set the course for the transfer of rule by 1997.

The Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong contains little reference to freedom of religion. Specific rights and freedoms will be spelled out in the Basic Law of Hong Kong. Next month the National People’s Congress of China will select a committee that will formulate the basic law.

A number of groups in Hong Kong have formed study committees to address the concerns of Christians. A group of professionals called Christian Hong Kong Observers will address political and social issues facing the colony. In addition, a group called the Church Renewal Movement Committee was formed last year after a July fasting-and-prayer rally drew 4,000 people to a Hong Kong stadium.

“We Christians are very eager to have our opinions expressed to those who will formulate the basic law,” said Timothy Siu Hung Lau, pastor of Hong Kong Baptist Church and chairman of the Church Renewal Movement Committee. “We don’t know if any Hong Kong people will be on the [basic law] committee, but we would like to have someone on the committee who could present our views.… Because 1997 is a big challenge to the Hong Kong church, as pastors we feel the need to share how to face this challenge and to seek new ways to do evangelism and church development.”

Only 5 percent of Hong Kong’s population are Protestants, with slightly more than 700 Protestant churches operating in the colony. Nevertheless, the city has been the center of the Chinese church worldwide. Hong Kong serves as the center of Chinese Christian publishing ...

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