04/22/2021, 10.37
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Baptist pastor leaves Hong Kong: 'Freedom is shrinking

The Rev. The Hing-choi had sided against the extradition law and the national security law. The pastor says “government policy has deviated from the principles and bases of reasonableness and fairness". The decision to move to Britain after he was targeted for criticism by pro-Beijing newspapers. Other Protestant pastors, critical of the security law, have been accused of secession and subversion. They too went into voluntary exile.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Baptist Pastor Lo Hing-choi, well-known for his criticism of the national security law and the extradition law, which generated the 2019 protest movement, has decided to resign and move to Great Britain.

In an article he wrote in the Christian Times last night, he explains that “The biggest – or the only – reason behind it is the changes in Hong Kong and its shrinking freedom. The government policies have deviated from the principles and basis of reasonableness and fairness.”  He explained that what is happening is not just Hong Kong being "torn apart", but a severe "dislocation".

The Rev. Lo, almost 70, was re-elected last year as president of the Baptist Convention, the association that gathers about 80,000 Baptist Christian faithful and was expected to end his term within the next month.

In 2019, under the presidency of the Rev. Lo, the Baptist Convention had publicly asked the government to withdraw the extradition law. And last June, Lo himself criticized the national security law imposed by Beijing, saying that it put an end to the principle of "one country, two systems", deprives the population of the right to speak and destroys the judicial system of the city.

In July and September, he was publicly criticized by pro-Beijing newspapers such as Ta Kung Pao. According to observers, criticism from pro-Beijing newspapers is a prelude to forceful actions, following the example of what is happening with local democracy leaders, condemned for participating in unauthorized demonstrations, and the Apple Daily newspaper.

In a message on the site, the Baptist Convention confirmed the resignation of the Rev. Lo and expressed gratitude for his service.

According to the South China Morning Post, after the national security law, several Christian personalities critical of the system have left the territory. They include two evangelical pastors Wong Siu-yung and Yeung Kin-keung, who had signed an "Evangelical Declaration" in which they ask their faithful to denounce the errors of the authorities and resist any totalitarian regime.

After being accused by pro-Beijing newspapers of being secessionist and subversive under the new security law, they also went into voluntary exile.

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