Humans of Hong Kong

Humans of Hong Kong

Translated version of feature stories and interviews by Stand News. 立場新聞專題、人訪的英文版本。

2020/1/19 - 11:44

“Carrie Lam has no place in Heaven,” says Taiwanese Pastor who helps Hong Kong’s political refugees and sends humanitarian aid to the frontline

Chi-Nan Presbyterian Church has over a hundred years of history. Its Gothic architecture style stands out amidst the hustle and bustle of Taipei City. In recent months a Lennon Wall has sprung up on the church’s gate, plastered with post-it notes carrying well wishes from Taiwanese people to Hong Kong protesters. Adjoining the chapel sits a newly built mission centre. Its courtyard is filled with boxes of hardhats, respirators and masks.

Over 7,000 people have been arrested in the anti-extradition movement so far. Some decided to flee to Taiwan, yearning for the breath of freedom. Chi Nan Presbyterian Church collects supplies and sends them to Hong Kong, while also providing a shelter for Hong Kong’s political refugees.

In Reverend Huang Chun-sheng’s view, the Church should practice justice and love, and side with the vulnerable. His faith and conscience guide his actions.


Helping over 200 protesters
Since the start of the anti-extradition movement, the Church has played an active role in providing back-up support to protesters in Hong Kong. From the moment a protester knocks on the Church’s door, it will arrange for their accommodation and provide them with free medical support. The Church will also refer people who wish to stay in Taiwan to volunteer lawyers and provide support to those who want to pursue further study.

Huang told Stand News that the Church had been in contact with over 200 Hong Kong protesters since July 2019. At least 30 of them are still in Taiwan and keep in touch with the Church. Many of these refugees were injured during the protests. Out of fear that they may get arrested when seeking medical care in Hong Kong, they came to Taiwan. Huang saw with his own eyes the bruises and scars borne by these protesters who came to Taipei to seek help: some had injured bronchi, some had bone fractures, some had had diarrhoea for more than a month.

The injured protesters breathe in fresh air and recover slowly from the impact of tear gas under the care of doctors in Taiwan – but the deepest wounds are often invisible to the eye.

“Someone told me he woke up in panic in the middle of the night because someone was walking around. He thought the noises were from police coming after him, only to realise this was Taiwan and not Hong Kong. Another girl sprang out of bed at night and thought she could smell tear gas…. But how on earth could she have smelled tear gas in Taiwan?”

What is worse is an escapee’s sense of guilt. They feel that running away from the frontline of the protests is an act of betrayal.

“When they come to Taiwan, they face greater stress because they think they’ve abandoned their fellow protesters,” Huang said.

Donations of supplies worth over US$500,000
Kung Chao-hsun is a writer and a secretary to Huang. He’s been involved in collecting donations of supplies to the Church. He said that they had received supplies worth over 15 million New Taiwan dollars (~US$500,000).

He took the reporter to the courtyard of the mission centre, where boxes of hardhats, masks, respirators, and even marshmallows with supportive slogans were strewn across the floor. They would normally send the donated supplies to Hong Kong promptly, so most of the equipment still sitting in the Church were of a lower grade. They worry that the equipment, like a general hardhat used by construction workers, doesn’t offer enough protection and may end up hurting the Hongkongers.

Kung says that at the beginning, the Church only held a special prayer for the Hong Kong protests, and soon after, a group of young people decided to take real actions to help Hongkongers, so they collected supplies. The types of supplies needed changed according to the needs of the movement: At the start, they collected hardhats; when police used tear gas, they searched around for anti-gas masks and saline solution; seeing that police deployed the water-cannon trucks shooting blue-dyed solution at protesters, they gathered alcoholic wipes.

Little by little, people from all walks of life donated supplies to the Church, including the young and the elderly. Some elderly who do not know where to get the supplies would just put down cash. The Church emphasizes that it only accepts supplies for humanitarian aid and categorically rejects weapons like baseball bats.

“The events in Hong Kong command my utmost respect for Hongkongers. They have shown extraordinary unity, it’s truly powerful,” Kung said.

“I’ve met many victims of the White Terror (1948-1987) in Taiwan, the youngest of them are almost ninety,” Kung said. Writing a book on the topic put him in contact with many people who had first-hand experience of the White Terror. The current situation in Hong Kong reminded him of the words of those who lived under that dark period: “Many of them told me the same thing: Never lose hope, never despair.”

“I wish to pass this message to Hongkongers,” Kung said.

Huang: Hong Kong police are the abusers
Early on, even before the anti-extradition movement, Huang had kept his finger on the pulse of Hong Kong politics. He was particularly concerned when a fellow pastor Chu Yiu-ming was convicted of “conspiracy to commit public nuisance” last year in Hong Kong.

He heard from a few pastors in Hong Kong in July that some youth who take to the streets carry their will with them, then he felt that he couldn’t stand idly by. “The Church exists so that higher values may manifest, the values of love and justice.”

With regards to Hong Kong’s resistance movement, Beijing has used rhetoric like “Hong Kong matters are China's internal affairs” or “foreign forces shall not interfere,” which reminds him of a case he has handled with regards to domestic violence. “I’ve heard similar things before. When I was helping a woman, who was abused at home, her husband said to me: ‘Matters in my home are out of bounds to outsiders.’”

“When we see a neighbour suffering from domestic violence, we have to protect her. The same applies to what’s happening in Hong Kong. I won’t side with the abuser, but with the one who is abused.”

“Those with power sitting high up would charge protesters with rioting. But who is violent? The real abuser is the Hong Kong police.”

Huang: Carrie Lam has no place in Heaven
“Jesus himself said that not everyone who calls him “Lord” can enter into the Kingdom of God,” Huang said. In Hong Kong, many politicians claim themselves as Christians. Chief Executive Carrie Lam even said that a place was reserved for her in Heaven.

“I can tell you very clearly, her deeds have disqualified her from Heaven,” Huang said.

“Will Jesus fire tear gas at people? No, Jesus won’t do such a violent thing! She (Lam) isn’t following in the ways of Jesus. That’s why I tell you, what she said was too boastful.”

“Like what Jesus said: But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant If you don’t have the humility to be everybody’s servant, what’s happening now will not end.”