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Almost Democratic

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Christian Activism and the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong

image of Exchange

The Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong (2014) read like a living tale of David and Goliath. Peaceful demonstrators held flimsy umbrellas to defend themselves against tear gas, pepper spray, and police batons. While many observers applauded the spontaneity of the citywide protests, little attention has been paid to the involvement of the Christian church in the prodemocracy struggle. This article draws on field observations and media reports to examine the various societal networks, resources, and mechanisms that Christian and non-Christian actors employed for grassroots mobilization. The crux of discussion is the political and theological polarization of the church, as the Umbrella protest revealed a qualitative shift in the attitude of local Catholics and Protestants toward political awakening and civic engagement. Such findings throw light on the intersection of faith and politics in Hong Kong’s continuous struggle for democratic governance.

Affiliations: 1: Princeton Theological SeminaryUS ; 2: Pace UniversityUS


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