The Hong Kong protests in the second half of 2019 captured the world’s attention. Demonstrations against an extradition bill, which would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to Communist China, grew into a larger civil liberties movement responded to with excessive force by the Chinese government. The Hong Kong protests began as peaceful demonstrations and assemblies but as the police used disproportionate force, some protesters responded by throwing petrol bombs and vandalizing subway stations and pro-Beijing businesses.
The Hong Kong protests have raised many questions for political theology, particularly about decolonization and postcolonial democracy in a “one country, two systems” arrangement. Kwok Pui-Lan and Francis Ching-Wah Yip bring together a truly international cohort to discuss the relation between Christianity and Communism and the neoliberal economy. The protests challenge theologians to think about civil disobedience, religion and social movements, and the roles of the churches in social conflict. This interdisciplinary work will draw from social scientists, philosophers, and theologians, such as Gene Sharp, Hannah Arendt, Benny Tai, John Rawls, Paul Tillich, Martin Luther King Jr., Kim Yong-bock, and others. It will discuss the meaning of crucifixion, atonement, the suffering Messiah, justice, the demonic, and the roles of the Church in a time of global unrest and social ferment and protest.
This volume aims to showcase theological reflections on the Hong Kong protests by scholars and activists in Hong Kong. Some of them have demonstrated on the streets, spoken in public forums, and provided pastoral care for students and protesters. To situate the Hong Kong protests in the broader contexts of social and political movements in the 20th and 21st centuries, the book includes reflections by theologians from different national and cultural backgrounds.
KWOK Pui-lan is Dean’s Professor of Systematic Theology at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. She is a past president of the American Academy of Religion. An internationally known theologian, she is author and editor of many books, including Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology and Occupy Religion: Theology of the Multitude (with Joerg Rieger). Her most recent edited volume is Asian and Asian American Women in Theology and Religion.
Francis Ching-wah YIP is associate professor and director of the Divinity School of Chung Chi College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He received his doctorate from Harvard University. His research interests include the theology and social thought of Paul Tillich, Hong Kong Christianity, and Chinese Protestant theology and practices. His publications include Capitalism as Religion? A Study of Paul Tillich’s Interpretation of Modernity and Chinese Theology in State-church Context: A Preliminary Study (in Chinese).
This book represents public theology at its best. It dispels once and for all the myth that theology is an academic exercise done in an ivory tower, and it invites theologians to defend democracy and the freedom of speech against powerful dictatorships.
Two distinguished theologians, Kwok Pui-Lan and Francis Ching-wah Yip, give due tribute to the resilience of Hongkongers and the endurance yet precarity of their protests. In collaboration with home and international interlocutors, The Hong Kong Protests and Political Theology is activism in print, in the proud tradition of liberation theologies.
A fine example of contextual theology in Asia 2.0 enhanced by postcolonial thinking. A must-read for everybody interested in political theology in intercultural perspective.
Political theology is always a living theology attached to particular life experiences. This volume has contributed to a vital political theology developed from the struggles of all types of people in Hong Kong through their life and death witness. It’s challenging and full of inspiration.