Christians Worry Hong Kong’s New Law Will Hamper Missions

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Recent Chinese regulations on foreign interference extend into the diaspora and raise questions for longstanding ministries.

For Christians outside of China who have connections in Hong Kong, or for international ministries with offices there, a new Beijing-imposed security law prompts a raft of troubling questions and unknowns.

The law—which broadly criminalizes any act of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces in the Chinese Special Administrative Region—went into effect late on June 30. The first 10 people arrested included a 15-year-old girl and a man who unfurled a Hong Kong independence flag during a demonstration. An additional 360 protesters were also detained in the first 24 hours.

Written in secret by Chinese officials and only made public after it had been passed, the law reclassifies what were previously considered minor infractions as serious crimes, punishable by a life sentence. Damaging public transport facilities, for example, a tactic frequently used by pro-democracy activists in the past year, is now considered an act of terrorism. The law also circumvents Hong Kong’s well-established judicial processes, allowing for warrantless wire-tapping, extradition to the mainland, and closed criminal proceedings.

But Hong Kong residents are not the only ones who should be wary. Buried within the law’s 7,000 words is one statement that seems to extend the reach of the decree far outside of China’s borders: “The law applies to persons who do not have permanent resident status in Hong Kong and commit crimes under this law outside Hong Kong,” reads Article 38.

In other words, anyone in the world could be held accountable for acts of subversion against the Chinese government.

As extraordinary as this provision may sound, it is not unusual for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) …

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