I write this letter of welcome to new Hong Kong immigrants and of support for communities of faith as they offer hospitality and generosity to people arriving from Hong Kong.
Peaceful protests in Hong Kong began in the past three year as millions of citizens opposed a bill that would have allowed extradition from Hong Kong to China. A crackdown on these peaceful protests, the use of arbitrary enforcement, and a new national security law have added to disappointment due to unfulfilled promises dating back to 1997 when Hong Kong was returned to China by the British. Many people of Hong Kong are now feeling exiled from their homeland.
These prospective new Canadians need a welcoming community to understand the trauma and damage they have undergone, support them by listening as they share their painful experiences, and facilitate their spiritual healing. They need the encouragement of those willing to support the values of freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and peaceful protest and advocate for the rights of Hong Kong’s people. They need people to stand with them and express concern regarding the criminalization by the government of actions that fall within these rights and freedoms.
We, in The United Church of Canada, can respond in a caring way by welcoming and showing concrete hospitality to these new immigrants from Hong Kong. We can assist as they settle into Canadian life and society. We can encourage our United Church communities of faith and others to provide a safe, respectful platform and space for the sharing of their hurtful experiences. We can also pray for them and for other Hong Kong people who have no choice but to remain in Hong Kong.
Let us be welcoming, hospitable, and supportive of Hong Kong immigrants to Canada, and where possible, let us find meaningful ways to engage with them in advocacy efforts on behalf of those still living in Hong Kong who continue to endure hardships from the injustices they are undergoing.
Rev. Dr. Japhet Ndhlovu
Executive Minister Church in Mission Unit
The United Church of Canada