The Challenge of China

By Dennis Balcombe

The British Crown Colony of Hong Kong has become the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China. Hong Kong has been promised a "high degree of autonomy" under a concept of "one country, two systems" in which existing economic and social systems as well as existing freedoms (including the freedom of religion) are guaranteed in the "Basic Law", which is Hong Kong's mini constitution.

Many have doubted whether such a system will work, and fear Communist Party cadres from the mainland will try to interfere in our affairs, and existing freedoms will slowly be eroded. Some are prophesying a "white terror" of arrests of political dissidents, persecution of Christians and so on. Twelve years ago when the "Joint Declaration" was signed between China and Britain, many said by 1996 there would be a massive correction in the local stock market down to 200 points. Now it is around 13,000 points, a historical high. They said the property market would collapse, but now Hong Kong has the highest real estate prices in the world with some residential homes fetching US $1,400 per square foot. There was supposed to be a massive exodus. Now many of those who have already immigrated have returned, for the economy here is one of the best in the world. A recent report found Hong Kong to be the most "free" (based on the lack of government interference and regulations) of all the nations and territories in the world, whereas China was predictably towards the bottom of the list. Will this continue or will the negative prophecies of the pessimists come to pass?

Hong Kong people will not enjoy their freedoms just because it has been promised to us on legal documents. They will have to "fight" for what has been given them. The newly elected Chief Executive of the future SAR, Tung Chee-hwa, has said he will do his best to keep China from interfering with Hong Kong's affairs. The governments of many nations have clearly expressed to China that great importance will be put on Hong Kong's autonomy. Hong Hong's future will not only have great relevance to the future of China, it will have international implications.

Though Hong Kong was ceded to Britain as a result of the Opium War 155 years ago, and has had a sordid history, God has not only protected Hong Kong during the past century and half of turmoil, change of governments and revolutions in China, it has been a base to evangelize China. To this day, most Christian ministry to China is through Hong Kong. I am sure that in former generations many Christians fasted, prayed and claimed Hong Kong for God's kingdom. God has greatly used this small crowded territory, and during the past year the churches have seen the stirrings of revival and unity unknown in recent history.

We totally support the return of the sovereignty of Hong Kong to China, and are determined to do our part to contribute to Hong Kong and our nation, China. We believe the best thing we can do is to preach the full Gospel of Christ in both regions. We have a long term commitment to the ministry here. Thus in this newsletter, we want to inform you that we are not intimidated or afraid of the changes that are coming, but are committed to the ministry here.

It is for that reason we have undertaken the purchase of new premises, a cinema, and expect to see rapid numerical growth. Our ministry in Hong Kong will be more open, straightforward and active than before. We have also decided to expand our "China Ministry" by incorporating a new organization, 'Revival Chinese Ministries International." While the Chinese and Westerners working with RCC will be active in RCMI, the new organization will technically separate the church from the "China Ministry". Our outreach will be to Chinese all over he world, not just mainland China.

Thus we need your prayers and support like at no time in the past. Please stand behind us and pray for us that God will not only protect the effective ministry He has given us, but that many new doors will be opened to proclaim His Word to the nations. Yes, we do have a vision for 1997, the most significant year in China's history. We will not be disobedient to this "heavenly vision."(Acts 26:19)

If you wish to support Revival Christian Church's ministry to China, please write to:

Dennis Balcombe
G/F, Kwai Fong Terrace
15 Kwai Yi Road
Hong Kong


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