‘We Have Arranged For Them to go to School Here’

Because the Hong Kong protest motion has escalated, Taiwan pastor Ng ChhunSeng has been quietly engaged in accumulating items and monetary donations to assist protesters fleeing to Taiwan for worry of arrest for “rioting,” a cost that carries a penalty of as much as 10 years’ imprisonment and which has been introduced towards massive numbers of peaceable protesters since final June. Up to now, he has raised some 15 million Taiwan {dollars} (round U.S.$500,000) at a time when donated funds in Hong Kong itself are being seized by the authorities. He spoke to RFA’s Mandarin Service about his causes for getting concerned:

RFA: How a lot have you ever raised to this point?

Ng ChhunSeng: By about October … we had raised about 10 million Taiwan {dollars}, however we obtained one other 5 – 6 million in donations instantly after the [siege and assaults by riot police] on the Chinese language College of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Polytechnic College in November and December. In order that provides as much as about 15 million Taiwan {dollars}.

RFA: Was all of that raised in Taiwan?

Ng ChhunSeng: About 90 p.c of it was, however there have been additionally some donations from the US, Canada, Japan, and even two from China.

RFA: What provides have been donated from China?

Ng ChhunSeng: They have been each fuel masks and respirators, they usually included a be aware saying “Go Hong Kong!”

RFA: A report in The New York Occasions in early December stated that some protesters whose passports had been confiscated by the Hong Kong authorities have been smuggled into Taiwan. Is that this true?

Ng ChhunSeng: The reporter for The New York Occasions is a critical journalist. She spent greater than two months in Hong Kong and Taiwan. She got here to our church a number of occasions. At the moment, I by no means stated that we had smuggled individuals in, so I do not suppose that got here from me. It most likely got here from interviews she bought in Hong Kong. I do know a variety of buddies in Hong Kong who wanted to seek out any means they’ll to depart, as a result of they know they are going to be prosecuted for rioting. Have they succeeded? I’ve no details about that.

RFA: So, the Hongkongers who have been helped by your church all arrived by authorized channels?

Ng ChhunSeng: All of them got here by airplane.

RFA: Is it the case that lots of them have returned to Hong Kong already?

Ng ChhunSeng: Most of them have gone again now. However some individuals have been instructed by their households not to return as a result of the police have come knocking on their door whereas they have been away, to arrest them. Since they’re all younger individuals, we have now organized for them to go to faculty right here.

RFA: I heard that you just additionally helped dissidents in mainland China earlier than you got here again right here from Hong Kong. Are you able to inform us extra?

Ng ChhunSeng: Prior to now few years [Chinese dissidents] in Taiwan, wanted to get a United Nations refugee card, and we might assist them to do this by the church system, notably in the US. Bob Fu and the ChinaAid group have been very useful. They’ve instructed us about related circumstances, and we assist if we will.

RFA: So that you and Bob Fu …

Ng ChhunSeng: We work collectively.

RFA: Are you able to give some examples? How about Huang Yan, the Chinese language activist who traveled to the U.S. after staying in Taiwan for extra than eight months in 2019?

Ng ChhunSeng: Huang Yan was one in all them, and her case has already been made public. However I can not speak concerning the others.

RFA: As a Christian pastor, why do you care a lot about dissidents in China and Hong Kong?

Ng ChhunSeng: We do not simply care about them in China and Hong Kong. In Taiwan, we used to care about our personal victims of political persecution. Working for human rights and caring about injustice is truly a core worth of [the Christian] religion. China has greater than 2,000 missiles geared toward Taiwan, so we have now a way of disaster right here. Religion is speculated to convey hope, to not suppress it. All we will do is deal with humanitarian care. As Jesus stated, to like our neighbor.

RFA: Wang Yi, a pastor of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, was just lately sentenced to 9 years in jail for inciting subversion of state energy. What’s your touch upon this?

Ng ChhunSeng: The day he was tried was Dec. 26, which was a really politically delicate date, because it was Mao Zedong’s birthday. It appears to me intentional. Rev. Wang Yi wrote an announcement beforehand saying that he had no intention of subverting the federal government, and that he submits to the Almighty, to not any temporal kingdom, and that he hoped to construct a greater future by obeying the dictates of the dominion of Heaven. I feel any authorities with a conscience ought to transfer in this path. After I see the church being persecuted in China, it makes me really feel that I ought to pray extra, within the hope that China can be stuffed with the peace of God.

RFA: So what do you consider Taiwan’s expertise of democratization as a mannequin for mainland China?

Ng ChhunSeng: Two issues. Through the Taiwan Wild Lily Scholar Motion [the 1990 pro-democracy protests], college students protested towards the dearth of elections for the Nationwide Meeting, which they known as the 10,000 year-old meeting. They wished it returned to the individuals. There have been solely about 10,000 college students protesting on the time, which is a very small quantity in comparison with the present Hong Kong motion. The scholar wrestle lasted lower than every week, throughout which President Lee Teng-hui invited scholar representatives to the presidential palace. He instructed them that he had heard, and agreed with, their 4 principal calls for. However he instructed them that they need to give him time to implement them, and that they need to go house and be good college students within the meantime. I consider President Lee Teng-hui was in a position to act this fashion due to his Christian religion. He’s a member of our church in Jinan.

RFA: Did he go on to implement the scholars’ calls for?

Ng ChhunSeng: All 4 main calls for have been carried out. The opposite factor is that … social change is often pushed by younger individuals who have beliefs and enthusiasm, and put their beliefs into motion. The church performs the position of companion on this course of. We don’t take the initiative, nor will we lead these scholar actions. The identical is true of the position performed by the church in Taiwan previously. The Presbyterian church is at all times concerned in social actions in Taiwan, letting them know that the love of God is with them.

RFA: However in mainland China, one other mass motion is being suppressed, and the church cannot even perform fundamental spiritual actions. Do you suppose there’s hope in mainland China?

Ng ChhunSeng: In fact there cannot be hope if issues keep on like this. However human historical past is continually on the transfer. If a regime has no respect for human life and no want for the upper values, it should finally be consigned to the ashes of historical past. It could appear in a time of darkness that there isn’t a hope, however China will change.

Reported by Shen Hua for RFA’s Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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