As hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Hong Kong took to the streets over the last two weeks, a 1974 Christian hymn emerged as an unlikely, perhaps mystifying, protest anthem.
It goes like this: “Sing Hallelujah to the lord.” Repeat that about a million times, and you have the unofficial soundtrack to the protests that forced the authorities to suspend an unpopular bill seen as damaging the city’s autonomy from Beijing.
While Christian leaders and communities were among the most outspoken opponents of the bill in a city where more than one in ten people are Christian, the song has been adopted by some protesters for reasons that had little to do with faith.
They have claimed that singing the hymn could protect themselves from getting arrested over their actions, citing the city’s safeguards of religious freedom.
As Hong Kong braces for further unrest on Friday as protesters demand the bill’s complete withdrawal and the resignation of the city’s leader, the song is likely to ring out again in the streets.
But this claim of immunity is unlikely to hold water, legal experts told Inkstone.
Under Hong Kong law, organizers of public assemblies have to notify police beforehand – but religious gatherings are exempt from the rule.
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[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Viola Zhou and originally published at The Inkstone News. Title changed by P&P.]
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