After Pastor Chu Yiu-ming and eight others were convicted on Tuesday of crimes related to being a part of the pro-democracy Occupy Central with Peace and Love Movement and the Umbrella Movement protests, he stood in a Hong Kong courtroom and gave the sermon of his life.
According to Christianity Today, Chu – who is the leader of the Chai Wan Baptist Church and a pro-democracy advocate– shared his personal testimony before the court recalling how his difficult childhood lead him to Christ, to a life in ministry and to fighting for human rights.
According to an English translation of Chu’s testimony published in the Hong Kong Free Press, the pastor said, “I am a Christian minister committed to the service of God. I have resolved to live a life of friendship with the weak and the poor, praying that God’s justice be manifested on earth as it is in heaven, and that the gospel of love and peace be proclaimed among the people.”
He continued, “But today, old and grey, I find myself in the Defendant’s dock, making a final plea as a convict. It looks so absurd, if not outright shameful for a person holding holy office.
“And yet, at this very moment, my heart tells me that with this defendant’s dock, I have found the most honourable pulpit of my ministerial career. The valley of the shadow of death leads to spiritual heights.”
The pro-democracy advocate also stood behind his belief in a free nation saying, “We strive for democracy, because democracy strives for freedom, equality and universal love. Political freedom is more than loyalty to the state. It professes human dignity.”
Chu continued, “Every single person living in a community possesses unique potentials and powers, capable of making a contribution to society. Human right is a God-given gift, never to be arbitrarily taken away by any political regime.”
Christianity Today reports that while Hong Kong is closer to democracy than mainland China, many are fearful that communism will encroach on the region.
While Chu and eight others prepared to face up to seven years in prison, not far away, 200 Christians met to pray for them. Christianity Today reports that the Christians met at Kowloon Union Church, the place where Chu and others first announced the Occupy Central campaign many years ago.
According to the Los Angeles Times, in 2013, Chu and two scholars named Benny Tai and Chan Kin-man started the Occupy Central Movement. The campaign is a non-violent pro-democracy movement that advocates for an electoral system in Hong Kong and universal and equal suffrage. The Occupy Central Movement is often credited with being a motivating factor for the Umbrella Movement protests which led to the 79-day occupation of Hong Kong by protestors.
This led to the three being found guilty of “conspiracy to commit public nuisance,” Christianity Today reports.
“We have no regrets. We hold no grudges, no anger, no grievances. We do not give up,” Chu proclaimed before the court. “In the words of Jesus, ‘Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; The Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!’ (Matthew 5:10)”
Chu is awaiting his sentencing hearing set for later this month where he can face up to seven years in prison; others could get longer sentences as they have additional convictions.
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