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敲鐘者言 — 朱耀明被告欄的陳辭

2019/4/9 — 16:28

(編按:2014 年佔領中環運動發起人之一朱耀明牧師,今早被判串謀作出公眾妨擾一罪成立。朱耀明下午在被告欄內以中文宣讀陳情,期間多次哽咽,戴耀廷掩臉流淚,庭內哭泣聲此起彼落。)

【Please scroll down for English version】

〈敲鐘者言 ── 被告欄的陳辭〉

廣告

作為一個終生為上主所用,矢志與弱勢者和窮苦人同行,祈求彰顯上主公義,實踐天國在人間,傳頌愛與和平福音的牧師,垂老之年,滿頭白髮,站在法庭被告欄,以待罪之身作最後的陳辭,看似極其荒謬和諷刺,甚至被視為神職人員的羞辱!

然而,此時此刻,在我心中,在法庭的被告欄,是一生牧職最崇高的講壇,死蔭的幽谷成就了靈性的高峯。

廣告

幾十年來,講道無數,想不到最費時、最用心、受眾最多的講道,正是在被告欄的陳辭,這裏有我童年的故事、牧區的故事、香港的故事、民主的故事、最後一里的故事、雨傘運動的故事、人間和天國的故事。

古時的猶太人,期待救贖主來臨的日子,那裏再沒有痛苦和眼淚,但基督道成肉身,住在人間,經歷人世的艱辛,詮釋了救贖主的真義:「那裏有痛苦和眼淚,那裏就有救贖主!」

在乖謬的時代,在專權的國度,在扭曲的社會,我甘願成為一個勇敢的敲鐘者,喚醒人間昏睡的靈魂。

這一切,從我童年的故事說起。

我的童年故事

我自幼失怙、失恃,幼時被送回鄉間隨祖母生活。

小學時,目睹殘酷的土地改革運動,許多「地主」受公審,群情洶湧,有些即時槍斃而死去,有些不堪凌辱而自盡。

政治鬥爭下,田地荒廢,人民成為犧牲者,捱飢抵餓,以樹葉野果充飢。

替人看牛和種田,與祖母相依為命,小學教育在打倒美帝國主義的口號下完成。

祖母離世更是無依,她死前託一位鄉里,申請我重回香港。擔着自己的行李,步行了一天,才到達台城車站。

抵港第的一天,便上工當學徒,不甘永遠煮飯和洗衣,出走露宿街頭,替人擦鞋為生,飽受歧視,更被黑社會欺凌毆打。

有一年,患上風濕性心臟病,住院兩個多月。

躺在病牀,看見病友死前的掙扎,看見別人探病的親友,我卻孑然一身,傷心莫過於此。

我開始問自己:生存的意義是甚麼?生,彷彿是我個人的負累;死,可能是個人的徹底解脫。

就在我充斥死和解脫的念頭時,一位慈祥的老人家,介紹我充當校工。主任是一位虔誠愛主的基督徒,常傳福音,邀請我返教會崇拜。

耶穌說:「我就是道路、真理、生命」(約翰福音14:6),像痛苦盡處的燈火,給我生命的亮光。

我逐漸明白,我不能放棄,生活雖然孤苦,若然人間有愛、正道、真理、更高的生命價值和意義的道路,我決志跟隨。

靠着上主的恩典,憑着信心,克服學習上和經濟的困難,拿着離職的一個月港幣130元的工資,開始半工半讀,完成了三年高中、四年大專、三年神學院的課程,預備作傳道者,服侍基層,與弱勢者和窮苦人同行。

我知道,前行路上不再孤單,因為主與我同行。

我的牧區故事

1974年,我受託到柴灣浸信會服侍。

柴灣,一直被人視為香港的「紅番區」,名稱的由來,是由於地區人多擠迫,居民生活貧窮,教育水平低下,醫療衞生不足。

適齡兒童雖有學校教育,但沒有家庭的愛和關懷,一家大小,擠在僅可放置一床一櫃的徙置區,生活困苦,環境惡劣,青少年吸毒和犯罪率非常高。

還有不少家庭住在木屋區,夏天有風災和雨災,冬天深夜常有火災。每一次,我到災難現場,擁抱安慰災民,都深感窮人的痛苦與無助,我會用教會慈惠基金,撥款援助不幸的災民。

曾有一位弟兄向我訴說,他遭受市政署不公平對待,他的小販攤檔沒法經營。他向自己教會的牧師求助,牧師卻說:「我為你祈禱吧,祈禱過後,你就要去找朱耀明牧師了。」

這位弟兄來到我的面前,我跟他說,我們也祈禱。不過,我可多走一步,陪同他向行政立法兩局議員申訴署申訴,結果把問題解決了。

身為傳道人,不能對沒有衣服穿、沒有飯吃的人說:「『平平安安地去吧!願你們穿得暖,吃得飽』,卻不給他們身體所需要的,這有甚麼益處呢?」(雅各書2:16)

多走一步,教會應是散播盼望的群體;多走一步,教會應是擁抱傷痛的群體;多走一步,才是教會存在的真正意義。

我一心決志與民同行,多走一步,一起爭取改善民生,爭取興建東區走廊,爭取興建東區醫院,爭取木屋居民上樓,爭取改善工人生活。

希望,就在爭取和奮鬥的人當中。

但教會是保守的,對傳道人參與爭取的社會運動,總是有所顧慮。

當年,參與爭取興建東區醫院時,我的教會正向政府申請土地興建教堂,第一次接受電視台訪問時,心裡有點不安,擔心政府視我們為壓力團體,拒絕批地;擔心我的同工和教友,對教會牧師參與社會運動,未能認同。

但聖經給我無盡的勇氣和力量。

聖經記載,耶穌道成肉身,住在人間,他宣告:「傳福音給貧窮的人…被擄的得釋放,失明的得看見,受壓迫的得自由」(路加福音4:18),這不是人類被救贖的好消息嗎?

結果有權有勢的人卻帶祂到山崖,欲置祂於死地,但耶穌並不懼怕,從容地從人群穿過去,走了。

我們生於世上的信徒,應牢記保羅的教訓,他說:「我活着就是基督」(腓立比書1:21)

基督沒有身體:

基督以你為祂的身體,
以你的雙手完成祂的工作,
以你的腳走遍世界,
透過你的雙眼,
把憐憫的目光投向世界。
                                 大德蘭修女(Teresa of Avila, 1515-1582)

我被召為上主的僕人,效法基督,跟隨基督的腳步,承託祂的使命,於世上傳達上主的關懷,不應懼怕任何的政治壓力和別人的評價。

多走一步,與民同行,就是一步一步追隨基督。

香港的故事

我們這一代人,經歷戰禍,逃難來港,過著流離的艱辛生活,拼搏幾十年以為可以安定下來。

中英政府於1984年簽署了中英聯合聲明。中國收回主權,實施「一國兩制」、「港人治港」、「高度自治」,並保證香港50年不變,但卻未能完全穩定人心。

教會為此,曾推動「香港是我家」運動,以鼓勵港人不要離去。

1984年9月,有89個團體集會於土瓜灣「高山劇場」,要求漸進「還政於民」。香港教會為穩定人心,於1984年也表達了清晰的信念書:

1997年後維持高度自治,市民享有神所賦予的人權、自由,包括言論、出版、結社、集會、出入境、信仰及傳教等自由。

政府必須向香港市民直接負責;不單要致力於香港的經濟發展,同樣重要的是重視市民中沉默的大多數者的利益;並要繼續保持立法、司法及行政獨立。

信念基於我們的信仰:每個人都是按照上主的形象被造的。

因此,人人應受尊重和保護,我們致力爭取民主,因為民主的理想是自由、平等和博愛。政治自由不是單一地對國家的效忠,也應承認人的尊嚴,而且人人生活在社會,都有其獨特的潛力和能力,貢獻和創建社會,而人權是上主所賦予,任何政權均不得隨意剝奪。

不幸,1989年北京的民主運動,中共政權以「屠城」結束,目睹這場運動的結果,港人不寒而慄,對民主的訴求更為殷切。

當時,社會有要求英國給予港人護照,有要求1991年立法局必須由普選產生,八九民運之後,我主要照顧流亡的民運人士,擁抱苦難者。

1991年有地區直選議員。1995年已增加直選議席。同時,1991年港督衞奕信簽署了《香港人權法案》,香港既有的《社團條例》及《公安條例》所有抵觸《公民權利和政治權利國際公約》全予廢除。

普選有了進度和時間表,《人權法》使港人有進一步保障,我便少參與政制討論,多致力民生工作,特別是醫療、善終及退休保障等。

我心中懷抱善良的希望:民主、自由、人權和法治,會一天天的好起來。  

民主的故事

一切善良的願望,竟然日漸渺茫,我又要重上高山,為了民主再啟航。

聖經的阿摩司先知,最關心公義與公平,他目睹失序和荒謬的社會繁榮,只限於富有的人,窮人仍然受著不公平的待遇和壓迫,他嚴厲警告世人:「你們要遭殃了。因為你們歪曲正義,剝奪了人民的權利!」(阿摩司書5:7)

香港有700多萬人,人人生而平等,政府卻剝奪人民的提名權、參選權。首屆特首由400人選出,政府和人民沒有任何關連。至今仍是由小圈子1200人選出。

政府眼中沒有人民,人民也不信任政府,對於千百般民怨,特首一聲「早晨」,就視而不見。

2003年「沙士」襲港,政府抗疫無方,結果299人死亡,1755人染病,董建華耗盡香港人的同情憐憫心,市民努力互濟之時,他卻硬推23條立法,導致50萬人上街抗議,最後「腳痛」下台。

立法會保有功能組別,剝奪了議員的私人提案權,政府的議案只要掌握功能組別和保皇黨的票數,很容易就可以通過,這種走向專權的制度,人民的生活較回歸前更困苦,更無助,更傷心。

我們再不能沉默了,為平等的人權,民主必須多走一步。

本着爭取民主的初衷,2002年,我們組成「香港民主發展網絡」(Hong Kong Development Network)(以下簡稱民網),成員包括有律師、學生、學者,並由陳健民教授領導30多名教授,研究符合基本法要求的政制方案。

2004年4月「民網」完成了方案,準備呈交政府和公開宣佈,讓社會討論民主政制。

不幸,中央政府卻於4月6日釋法,否定了2007和2008的普選。所有參與研究的學者非常憤怒,並於5月的記者會齊穿黑衣,宣告「香港民主已死」。

自此之後,我專心公民教育,發展教會的服務事工。

最後一里的故事

2008年,我做大腸鋇劑造影檢查(Barium Enema),穿腸鋇入腹腔,即時要接受緊急外科手術,醫生表示我只有五成生存機會。

徘徊於生死邊緣,幾乎陷於生離死別的時候,我囑咐兒子說:「孩子!要好好照顧媽媽呀!」

感謝上主的恩典和醫生的悉心治療,救回我的生命。

病後,我心裡只有三個心願,做好教會退休後的交接工作;陪伴妻子和家人,特別兩位孫兒,我很喜歡和他們遊玩、嬉水;寫一本關於民運的歷史書,只此而已,我便滿足了。

2010年我退休了,許多關心我身體的弟兄姊妹和朋友均勸我:牧師,你對教會和社會已盡心盡力了,夠了,好好休息和陪伴家人吧!

2013年1月,當戴耀廷教授發表一篇名為「公民抗命:香港民主運動的大殺傷力武器」的文章時,我不以為意。

當戴教授於2013年2月提及邀請陳健民教授和我參與「公民抗命」時,我感到驚訝愕然。

我人老了,身體又多病痛,怎可能參與呢?唯有致電我的好朋友陳健民教授,徵其意見,他竟然說:「牧師,我現在於巴黎,你先答應,待我回來,再詳談商議。」

身處管治失效,道德淪落,沒有威信,強調鬥爭,不顧人民死活的政府,似乎無意實踐承諾於2017年普選行政長官,故遲遲不提出諮詢。戴耀廷教授和陳健民教授不惜為公義、公平犧牲,爭取2017年一人一票選特首,我雖然已70高齡,但禁不了良知的呼喚,我絕不會讓我的弟兄孤身上路。

還記得少年時,基督教我認識真理,離開孤單的人生;還記得教會內,基督訓示我擁抱窮人,讓他們不再孤單;今天,民主號角再次響起,我怎能讓有心人孤單呢?

我的眼睛明亮起來,憑著良知多走一步,與民眾多走一里路。

聖經告訴我:「…愛是出於清潔的心、無愧的良心和無偽的信心。」(提摩太前書1:5)

我本著清心、簡念、分別為聖──無利益衝突、無權利慾望、無隱藏議程、決心為香港盡最後一分力,與港人再多走一步。

2013年3月27日,我們選擇在教堂十字架前表達我們願意犧牲和受苦的精神,

宣讀「讓愛與和平佔領中環」的信念。

當日我的禱告是:

「我們以敬虔、謙卑和祈禱的心,我們沒有怨恨;反之,我們心懷愛意,不打倒任何人,亦無意對抗和反對任何政權;反之,我們堅守法律,我們以身違法,為的是要突顯目前政制不公義的地方。若果我們因此行動失去個人自由而能為今日社會和下一代帶來更大的自由,那麼,我們可能失去的自由,就微不足道,這也心甘情願的!

我們選擇和平非暴力的運動,雖然我們面對的不公義力量是那麼巨大、掌權的人那麼難以對付,我們絕不害怕和逃跑。我們可以重新肯定自己人性的尊嚴,採用和平非暴力的抗爭,揭示不公平法律的不公義,迫使邪惡不能再躲藏在合法性的框架內。

「讓愛與和平佔領中環」運動原是透過公民商討、公民授權、對話談判去爭取普選,在迫不得已時才採取公民抗命。

中央政府卻於2014年6月出版了「一國兩制在香港特別行政區的實踐」白皮書,宣佈「中央全面管治」,那麼,中英聯合聲明中的「一國兩制」、「港人治港」、「高度自治」呢?中央官員竟然回應說:回歸以後,中英聯合聲明已失效。

從來沒有想過,中英聯合聲明如白紙一張。

中央政府原於2012年承諾2017年香港普選行政長官,唯人大常委2014年8月31日的決定,全面落閘,封閉普選和對話之門。

雨傘運動的故事

對話之路走盡了,和平佔中啟程了。

「讓愛與和平佔領中環」運動定於2014年10月1日舉行,為此,我們於9月18日入信申請「不反對通知書」,9月25日和警方商談安排細節。

9月22日專上學生聯會組織一周罷課不罷學的行動,抗議831之決定,並於政府總部外集會。但罷課學生於9月26日衝進政府總部「公民廣場」,學生領袖被拘捕,引發大批市民響應,擠滿了政府總部外面的街道。

期間,市民高呼「守護學生」,要求即時「佔中」。

9月27日晚,我們與在場的學生代表舉行會議,取得共識,9月28日凌晨1時40分由戴教授宣佈「佔領」行動開始。但集會的人群開始離開,不久學聯宣佈這次是學生運動,並非「佔中」。

9月28日早上,警方封鎖所有進入政府總部的道路,意圖孤立場內的學生和市民。

9月28日中午時分,消息傳來,梁振英於下午3時30分召開記者招待會,我們圍坐在「命運自主」台,見到警方似要準備清場。

因為這次行動不是「和平佔中」運動,因此,我即時要求義工和糾察離場,不要被捕,否則無人主持10月1日的集會,初時三子建議我隨義工離場。但最終決定,我還是留下來待警察清場,我們三人撓手坐在一起被捕。

我坐回「命運自主」台上,與學生領袖、泛民立法會議員、和陳日君樞機,手牽手坐在台上等待被捕。下午5時58分,突然聽到槍聲,夏愨道煙霧瀰漫,站在前線的市民大聲叫喊:「警察放催淚彈」。

依我們的計劃,如果警方用武力時,為了保護示威者,我們會勸喻撒離,何況警方還舉著「速離否則開槍」的橫額。

陳日君樞機即時大聲呼喊「不要作無謂犧牲,快撤離,我們不要為這不理性的政府作犧牲。」「現在不是犧牲的時刻,快撤離!」

此時,我腦中湧現北京天安門的景象,我心裏說:「一定要守護學生,保護群眾不受傷害。」

10月3日我們已開始討論自首,唯不忍心讓學生孤單抗爭,故我們留下來。

10月4日下午我們知道駐守的警察沒有食物,本於信念,任何抗爭,我們都堅持不能傷人的尊嚴,當日下午6時前,便開通車道和海富天橋。

此後,我積極推動學生和政府對話:因為只有對話才可保障所有參與者安全,另一方面,為雨傘運動打開對話之門,促進香港和北京政府理性對話下去。

第一次原定10月10日,唯因10月3日旺角示威者被黑社會毆打而叫停。但我沒有放棄,仍積極尋求對話。

經過多人和多番的游說和努力,終於再決定10月21日學生和政務司長林鄭月娥公開對話。可惜學生不願意再對話下去,良好的意願落空,我憂心忡忡,不得安睡,我們三人多次與陳日君樞機和李柱銘先生一起禱告,求上主保護學生和示威群眾,並祈求上主指引前路。

群眾無畏無懼,沒有撤離,87枚催淚彈「催逼」了10多萬人上街──波瀾壯闊的雨傘運動開展了。

雨傘原是用來遮太陽、擋風雨,但在運動期間,在警方猛烈噴射胡椒噴霧下卻產生保護作用。

雨傘運動源於長久以來對政制發展感到無助、無奈和無望,渴求命運自主。

79日佔領,120萬人參與,展示香港和平非暴力的高質素公民,期間沒有破壞任何建築物,或焚燒任何物件。

佔領區的商店不但無損,反而佔領者鼓勵和幫助小店,以免生意受影響。很多商店和市民送飯、送水、送棉被、送帳幕,佔領者充份發揮互助互愛的精神。

雖歷經黑社會的暴力襲擊,警察亦以暴力打得佔領者頭破血流,但佔領者仍保持和平非暴力的信念,沒有退縮。

和平非暴力的公民抗命種籽,已深植人心。

這運動原是一場公民覺醒運動,期望每個人都能出來貢獻自己,表示決心,更希望能喚醒官僚的良知。

幸福和美好的和平生活,是我們夢寐以求的,也是上主的旨意,我們要踐行在人間。

沒有公義,便沒有和平,因為「公義的果實是平安;公義的效果是平靜和安穩,直到永遠」(以賽亞書32:17)同時,「慈愛和誠實彼此相遇;公義與和平彼此相親。」(詩篇85:10)

法律和秩序是任何社會不可或缺的。若法律只用作維護權貴既得利益者,不法和霸道便由制度肯定,社會道德基礎便蕩然無存,無權無勢者就成為法治制度的犧牲品。

那麼,政權只會藉國家安全的名義:以迫害、流放、任意逮捕、刑求、強逼失踪、破壞和暗殺來維持所謂「和平」。(C. René Padilla)

或許您們會說:我們的問題源自「公民抗命」。

錯了!

我們的問題,乃是來自「公民從命」。

這種從命,讓世上無數的人屈膝於強權,獨裁者的政體之下,被捲進死傷以百萬計的戰爭。

這種從命,讓世上無數的人對貧窮、飢餓、愚昧、戰禍與殘暴無動於衷。

這種從命,讓世上的監牢擠滿小奸小惡的罪犯:大奸大惡者,卻成為國家的領袖。

                                 歷史學家霍華德.津恩(Howard Zinn)

最後的總結陳辭

今日是2019年4月9日,想起51年前的4月4日,主張和平非暴力爭取人權的馬丁路德金牧師被人槍殺,先賢的說話仍在鼓勵和呼召我們:

「……我們要抵抗,因為自由永遠不是白白賦予的。有權有勢的欺壓者從不會自動雙手贈獻自由給受壓者……權益和機會必須通過一些人的犧牲和受苦才可以獲致。」

「……仇恨生仇恨,暴力生暴力……我們要用愛的力量去對付恨的勢力。我們的目標絕不是要去擊敗或羞辱白人,相反,我們要去贏取他們的友誼和諒解。」

馬丁路德金牧師說:沒有公義便沒有真正的和諧。我寄語生活於香港的市民,要憐憫不公義制度下的受害者,包括示威者,也包括警察;我更祈求憐憫能激發勇氣,用以對抗制度的惡。

雨傘運動中,我只是一個敲鐘者,希望發出警號,讓人們知道不幸和災難正在發生,期望喚醒人們的良知,共挽狂瀾。

如果我仍有氣力,必繼續在教會敲鐘,在世上敲鐘,在人心敲鐘。

「世人哪,耶和華已指示你何為善。他向你所要的是甚麼呢?只要你行公義,好憐憫,存謙卑的心與你的上主同行。」(彌迦書6:8)

我,朱耀明、戴耀廷和陳健民現在於被告欄宣告:

我們沒有後悔,

我們沒有埋怨,

我們沒有憤怒,

我們沒有遺憾。

我們沒有放棄。

耶穌說:「為義受迫害的人有福了!因為天國是他們的。」(馬太福音5:10)

慈愛,公義的上主,我將自己交託祢手中,願袮的旨意成就!

 

Confessions of a Bell Toller -a statement from the Defendant’s Dock

I am a Christian minister committed to the service of God. I have resolved to live a life of friendship with the weak and the poor, praying that God’s justice be manifested on earth as it is in heaven, and that the gospel of love and peace be proclaimed among the people. But today, old and grey, I find myself in the Defendant’s dock, making a final plea as a convict. It looks so absurd, if not outright shameful for a person holding holy office.

And yet, at this very moment, my heart tells me that with this defendant’s dock, I have found the most honourable pulpit of my ministerial career. The valley of the shadow of death leads to spiritual heights.

For decades, I have preached numerous sermons. Little could I anticipate that the one message which preparation took me the longest time and the most heartfelt prayer, and which probably would reach the largest audience, is precisely this one delivered from the Defendant’s dock. In this message I tell the story of my childhood, of the Umbrella Movement, a story of heaven and earth.

In days of old, Jewish people longed for the coming of the Redeemer when there would be no more pain and tears. Then Christ, Incarnate, took on human flesh and lived among us, sharing in our suffering and pain. And the world has since learned that “where there is suffering and tears, there is the Redeemer.” 

Ours is an age of absurdity. Living in a society on the brink of authoritarianism and of arbitrary rule, let me be a brave bell toller, ringing, waking up sleepy souls.

All these began with the story of my childhood.

My childhood story

I was destitute when young. There was no one to depend on. I was sent to live with my grandmother in a mainland village.

At primary age, I witnessed the brutality of the land reform movement. Many ‘land owners’ were brought before raging public trials, some summarily executed on the spot. Some committed suicide after suffering unbearable acts of humiliation.

Government often incited people to engage in political struggles. Fields were left untended, food production neglected. Hunger struck. People survived on tree leaves and wild fruits. There were nothing but lambs on the altar of sacrifice.

I completed primary schooling under the banner of [ Down with American Imperialism ] Became a hired hand in working in the fields, herding buffalo. With my grandmother, I survived. She survived. A case of sharing in destitution.

Grandmother died. I was all alone. But at her sickbed, she asked a neighbour to help me apply for return to Hong Kong. Bag in hand, I walked an entire day to reach Taishing bus station.

Day One, I got myself taken in as an apprentice. But the job called for nothing but cooking meals and washing clothes. I walked out, joined the street-sleepers crowd, and became a shoe-shine boy. I was looked down upon and constantly beaten by triads.

One day, I found myself running a fever. It turned out to be some kind of rheumatic heart disease. I was hospitalised for two months.

Bed-riddden in a crowded ward, I saw patients struggling with death and others being visited by relatives and friends. I was all by myself. Nothing hurts more than that.

I began asking myself: does life have any meaning? To me personally, life seems like a burden; and death a thorough liberation.

As I was struggling with the thoughts of death and liberation, a gentle old woman offered me a job as school janitor. There on the campus, a senior teacher, a devout Christian, invited me to go to church.

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. (John 14/6) The light at the end of suffering brightens up my life.

Gradually I came to appreciate that I simply could not give up. Life is hard and brutal, yet as long as there are signs of love, righteousness, truthfulness, I am resolved to follow the higher way.

By the grace of God, with faith, I managed to overcome my educational and financial difficulties. Armed with $130, my last month’s wage, I began my part-time work-study journey : 3 years of high school, 4 of post-secondary college, and 3 years of theological seminary. My resolve: to proclaim the Word, to serve the grassroots of society, and to walk with the weak and the poor.

I know that for the way ahead, I am no longer alone, because my Lord walks with me.

My parish story

In 1974, I was commissioned to serve Chai Wan Baptist Church.

For years, Chai Wan had often been considered a ‘red neck’ district. It was crowded, the population poor, education level low, public health facilities inadequate and few employment opportunities.

Public schooling was available, but family support often fell short. An entire family lived in a cubicle built for a bed plus a cabinet. Life was hard, the environment miserable. Drug and crime problems prevalent among the young.

Many families still lived in shanties, risking typhoons in summer and fire in winter. When disasters struck, I found myself at the scene, supporting, embracing, comforting the people. I felt their pain and powerlessness. The church would offer some help from its charity fund.

A Christian man once told me he had been unfairly treated by Urban Services. He could no longer operate his hawker stall. His pastor said, “I would pray for you. Then you go and see Rev. Chu Yiu Ming.”

So this brother came to me.  I said I would also do the praying, but I would take a further step. I would accompany you to the UMELCO Complaint Office. There, the issue was later resolved.

To those who are naked or hungry, the Christian minister has no business responding with greetings of Peace, Peace. I wish you well; keep warm and well fed, but does nothing about their physical needs. What good are such greetings? So ask the Bible. (James 2:16)

Take a further step. The church should be a community which grows hope. Take a further step. A community which embraces suffering and pain. Take a further step. This is the true meaning of being church.

My resolve: to walk with people. Take a further step. Improve the quality of life. Build the Eastern Corridor, the Eastern Hospital. Public Housing for Squatters. Improve Workers’ Livelihood.

Hope. Nurture hope in the midst of people’s struggles.

The church, however, tends to be conservative. It worries about church ministers getting involved in social movements.

I recall in the year of us advocating for the building of the Eastern Hospital, my congregation was applying to the authorities for land. I was doing a tv interview. I found myself restless for fear that government might consider us ‘a pressure group’ and reject our church’s application. I worried that my colleagues and church members might no longer be able to identify with our mission out of fear.

But the Bible provides me with courage and power. 

There, in the scriptures, it is announced that Jesus, God Incarnate, lived among us, full of grace and truth. Bring good news to the poor. And it is proclaimed that the imprisoned shall be free and the blind see, and the oppressed liberated. Isn’t this the good news of salvation for the people?

At some point, Jesus was taken by certain powerful and influential people up a tall precipice. They threatened to kill him. Unafraid, Jesus walked passed the crowd on to safety.

Living in this world of ours today, let us take heed of Paul‘s word: To me, to live is Christ.(Phil.1:21)

Christ has no body
Christ sees you as his body,
Your two hands as his hands to finish his work.
With your feet, He travels the whole world.
Through your two eyes,
He casts his sight of compassion upon the earth
(Teresa of Avila, 1515-1582)--

I have been called as a servant of the Lord. In imitation of Christ. Following his steps. Taking up his mission. Making known his concerns for the world. Unafraid of political pressure or how others see his work.

Take a further step.  Walk with the people. Following Christ each step of the way.

My Hong Kong Story

My generation has lived through war and chaos. We fled to Hong Kong, rootless and destitute.

In 1984, the Chinese and British Governments came to agreement and a Joint Declaration was signed. Hong Kong would return to China, and ‘One Country Two Systems’ , ‘Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong’ , ‘a high degree of autonomy’ and ‘No change for 50 years’ would be introduced. But public confidence remained fragile.

At one point during this period, Christian churches launched a ‘Hong Kong, My Home’ campaign to encourage people not to leave.

September 1984, 89 groups and organisations came together in Ko Shan Theatre, Tokwawan, calling for ‘Power to the People’. To build confidence among the people, Christian Churches proclaimed a set of basic convictions in the same year.

Post 1997 Hong Kong must enjoy a high degree of autonomy. God-given  human rights and liberty, including  freedom of the press and of publication, of association, of assembly. Citizens must be given the right to travel and to enter or leave the city. The freedom of religious belief and freedom to preach must be safeguarded.

Government should be directly accountable to the people. Effort must be placed not only on Hong Kong’s economic development. Of equal importance is the interests of the silent majority. The city’s legislative, judicial and executive branches of governance should remain independent of each other.

This is our conviction based on the faith we hold: Every person is created according to God’s image.

As such, every person should be respected and safeguarded. We strive for democracy, because democracy strives for freedom, equality and universal love. Political freedom is more than loyalty to the state. It professes human dignity. Every single person living in a community possesses unique potentials and powers, capable of making a contribution to society. Human right is a God-given gift, never to be arbitrarily taken away by any political regime.

By 1989, the democratic movement in Beijing ended sadly in brutal massacre. As eye witnesses, our hearts turned cold. Our democratic aspirations burned all the more fierce.

During this period, there were cries for British passports for Hong Kong people, and demands for direct elections for the 1991 legislature. After the 1989 democratic uprising, my principal involvement was the ministry of caring for democratic activists in exile, being with them in their suffering.

By 1991, some legislative seats were open for direct election. A few more by 1995. In 1991, Governor Wilson signed into law <Hong Kong Human Rights Ordinance>. As such, provisions in the <Societies Ordinance> and <Public Order Ordinance> which contravened the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights would be abolished.

With the promise of universal franchise for the legislature in place, and the enactment of the law on human rights, I reduced my participation in issues of political structure, and gave more attention to livelihood issues such as medical and health, palliative care, and retirement protection.

I fondly cherished the hope that democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law would find fertile soil in this city. That things would become better every day.

My story on democracy

As it happened, all these wishes of goodwill turned sour. Once again, I found myself embark on yet another journey for democracy. Once again, there is another mountain to climb.

Amos, a biblical prophet with a deep concern for justice and fairness, was confronted with the situation of wealth and prosperity going only to the benefit of the rich and the powerful. He thundered at them, ‘Woe to you who turn justice into bitterness, and cast righteousness to the ground.’

Hong Kong boasts a population of 7 million plus, everyone born equal. Yet, for the election of the Chief Executive, the right to make nominations and the right to be nominated have been taken away. The first Chief Executive of the post-1997 era was elected by a body of 400 people. No links exist between the people and the government. As of the day, the Chief Executive is elected by a small circle of 1200 electors.

For the government, the people are not necessary. Neither does the people trust the government. For the hundreds and thousands of grievances, the Chief Executive simply brushes them aside with a Good Morning.

2003, the SARS epidemic launched an assault on the city. Government threw up both hands. 299 people died. 1755 infected. While people fended for themselves in solidarity and sympathy, Tung Che-haw, the then Chief Executive, chose such a moment to legislate on Article 23 of the Basic Law. 500,000 took to the street. Tung stepped down, on the ground of pain on the leg.

The legislative council retains the functional constituencies and deprives law-makers of the right to introduce private members’ bills. As long as there is functional constituency and pro-establishment party support, government bills enjoy easy passage. This brews authoritarianism and disadvantages efforts to improve the quality of life for the people. Relative to  pre-1997 days, life has become harder, people  helpless and hurting.

We can no longer stay silent. For equality in human rights, Democracy has to take a further step.

We had not forgotten our first love. In 2002, Hong Kong Development Network came into being. Led by Professor Chan Kinman, over 30 professors came together to develop a political structure consistent with the requirements of the Basic Law.

April 2004, Hong Kong Development Network had completed drawing up its proposal on Political Structure, ready for submission to the government, and for release for public discussion.

6 April, Central Government announced an interpretation of the Basic Law. The interpretation rejected universal franchise for the 2007, 2008 elections. Sad. All the participating academics expressed their anger wearing black in a press conference in May. There, they announced Democracy in Hong Kong is Dead.

Since then, I devoted myself to civic education and to the social service ministry of the church.

My story of the last mile

2008. An imaging screening of Barium Enema found me on the brink of death. I was rushed for emergency surgery. Doctors gave me a 50 percent chance of survival.

Hanging by a thin thread between life and death, I called to my son, ‘Child, take good care of your mother.’

By the grace of God and the doctors’ meticulous caring, I was saved.

When this was all over, three wishes remained in my heart: do a good job for the church and find a successor; time with my wife and family, my two grand children in particular, I love to fool around with them at the beach; and write a book on the history of the people’s movement. If I manage these, I would count myself a happy man.

2010. I retired. Many of my friends and parishioners who worried about my health said to me, “Pastor, you have done your utmost for church and society. Enough is enough. Stay put. Spend time with your family.”

January 2013. Professor Tai Yiuting published his newspaper article on ‘Civil Disobedience - weapon of great potency for Hong Kong’s Democratic Movement’. I didn’t pay much attention to it.

February 2013. Professor Tai raised the desire of inviting me and Professor Chan Kinman to join him in a Civil disobedience campaign. I was taken aback, stone shocked.

I have come into old age. My body inflicted with sickness. How could I possibly make it? I called up my good friend for advice. To my surprise, Professor Chan responded with, ‘I am in Paris right now. You go ahead and say Yes. We’ll talk when I am back.’

At a time when government misgoverned, abandoned ethical norms, threw credibility to the wind and used confrontation tactics to divide and rule, it seemed there would be little chance for universal franchise for the chief executive election in 2017 to which the two professors were committed. For this just cause, Tai and Chan were prepared to pay the price. I was already 70, often sick, physically unfit. But I could not ignore the cry of conscience. I could never allow my brothers to go it alone.

I recall the days of my youth. Christ taught me what is true. I was no longer alone. In church, Christ told me to embrace the poor, so that they too would not be alone. Today, the trumpet call for democracy is heard once more. How can I leave these good men to themselves?

My eyes saw the light. By my conscience, I was going to take a further step. Walk the extra mile along side the people.

The bible instructs me “to arouse the love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience and a genuine faith.”(I Timothy 1:5)

So I resolved to follow with purity, simplicity and sanctity of spirit. No self-interest, No desire for power, No hidden agenda. My last oz of strength for Hong Kong.

March 27, 2013. By the cross in a church, we read out a statement ‘Occupy Central with Love And Peace’, declaring our commitment to non-violent civil disobedience.

My prayer on that day:

We come before You and before the world with reverence, humility and a prayerful heart. There is no hatred. There is love. We are not here to knock down anyone, nor to oppose  any political regime. On the contrary, we uphold the law, and with our body, would deliberately break the law, in order to highlight the injustice of the present political structure. By so doing, and if we hereby suffer the loss of personal freedom, and yet manage to secure greater freedom for the next generation, then, we would count our loss insignificant and our suffering worthy.

We have opted for a peaceful, non-violent way. Although the power of injustice before us is immense and those holding power capricious, we are not afraid, nor will we run away.  We stand by the dignity of the human person and  resort to peaceful and non-violent means of struggle. Our way is to expose the injustice of unjust laws, making it impossible for evil to hide behind legitimate fronts.

‘Occupy Central with Love and Peace’ operates by citizens deliberation, authorisation, and dialogue. It’s goal is election by universal franchise. Civil Disobedience would be acts of final resort.

June 2014. Central Government published a white paper on ‘The Practice of One Country Two Systems in the HKSAR, with an emphasis on Beijing’s ‘comprehensive rule’ over Hong Kong. As it is, we venture to ask, ‘what about references in the Sino-British Joint Declaration to ‘one country two systems’, ‘Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong’ and ‘high degree of autonomy’? The reply from a central government official: ‘With the resumption of sovereignty, the Joint Declaration is no longer effective.’

Little could we imagine that the Joint Declaration is nothing more than a sheet of paper.

2012. Central Government made the promise of universal franchise for the 2017 chief executive’s election.

31 August, 2014. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress closed all such possibilities. No universal franchise. No further discussion.

My story of the umbrella movement

The road of dialogue came to a dead end. The beginning of peaceful Occupy Central.

Occupy Central with Love and Peace was set to commence on 1 October. For that we submitted an application to the police for a ‘No Objection Notice’. Discussions with police on operational details were scheduled for 25 September.

22 September, the Federation of Post-Secondary Students called for a week-long class against the 831 decision. Students congregated outside Government Headquarters.

26 September, students on strike rushed into CitizensSquare. Leaders were arrested. Members of the public gathered in support of the students in large numbers, blocking the roads in the vicinity.

The rallying cry: Stand Guard Over Our Students. There were calls for the immediate occupation of Central.

27 September. We met with student representatives on the spot and reached consensus. Professor Tai would announce the commencement of ‘Occupy’ action as of 0140 hr 28 September. But no sooner, the crowd began to disperse. And Federation leaders declared that this was student’s movement, not ‘Occupy Central’.

28 September morning. Police blockade of access to Government Main Complex, with the intention to isolate students and members of the public on the scene.

28 September. News had it that CY Leung would be calling a press conference at 3.30 pm. At the same time, while we were doing a round table on the theme of ‘Self-Determination’,  we noticed signs of probable clearance action by police.

By now, and given that this piece of action was no longer ‘Occupy Central with Love and Peace’, I right away asked our volunteers and pickets to leave the scene, and not be arrested. We had scheduled our big day for October 1 and must make sure someone would be available then to lead the action. So initially the three of us decided I should leave with the volunteers. However, as it turned out, I finally stayed and waited for police clearance. Our decision was the three of us would stay, holding hands and be arrested together.

With that, I returned to the Roundtable Platform. There, student leaders, Pan-Democrat legislative councillors and Cardinal Joseph Zen sat, holding hands, waiting to be arrested. 5.58pm. Bursts of gun shots were heard. Masses of smoke began to encase Harcourt Road. People on the frontline cried, ‘Tear Gas. Police Firing Tear Gas.’

By our plan, had police resorted to force, we would advise retreat in order to protect the protesters. By then, police was holding up the warning banner ‘Disperse or Police Open Fire’.

Cardinal Joseph Zen instantly cried out, “No pointless sacrifice. Retreat. Quick. We will not sacrifice for this irrational government.” “Now is not the time for sacrifice. Retreat. Quick.”

At this point, the image of Tienaman Square in Beijing took hold of my mind. My heart kept telling me, “Must protect the students. Must keep the people from harm.”

3 October. We began discussion on turning ourselves in to the authorities. We couldn’t bear to see students continuing to suffer and fight their lonely fight. So we stayed.

4 October. We knew the police stationed there had run out of food. Given our respect for the principle of the dignity of every person under any circumstances, we agreed and vehicular access and a pedestrian overpass north of Admiralty Centre linking up Tamar were made available.

I began to devote more effort facilitating student-Government dialogue. I believed, without dialogue, the safety of participants could not be assured. In addition, the umbrella movement would benefit from an ongoing and rational conversation between Hong Kong and Beijing authorities. Arrangements were made for a meeting on 10 October. But it was not to be. Earlier, protesters in Mongkok had been beaten up by triad elements. I refused to give up, still striving for dialogue.

With much persuasion and hard work, 21 October was agreed as the day for a public conversation between the Chief Secretary for Administration and the students. But the students felt they had had enough. No more talk. Our well wishes fell through. Darkness engulfed me. I couldn’t sleep. There were days when Cardinal Joseph Zen, Mr. Martin Lee and the three of us got together in prayer. We prayed for protection for students and protesters. We prayed that God would show the way out.

On the streets, the people were without fear. They were unafraid. There was to be no retreat. 87 rounds of tear gas propelled 100,000 people to take to the streets. Thus the beginning of the epic, iconic, exhilarating Umbrella Movement.

An umbrella is there for shelter from the sun and from the rain. During the Movement days, it was protection from police pepper gas. It all began with a student class boycott. Most participants were  young people.

For a long time, young people have been made powerless, helpless, and  indeed, hopeless before the reality of the city’s political structure. They longed for self-determination for their destiny.

79 days of occupation with 1.2 million people participating demonstrate the high quality of Hong Kong people’s capacity for peaceful and non-violent change. During the period, no buildings were damaged, and no property set on fire.

Business in the occupied areas suffered no loss. In fact, small shops were helped and encouraged by protesters. And shopkeepers and residents offered food, clothing and tents to participants. Often, it was a community of mutual caring.

There were instances of violence by triad gangs. And of police beating up protesters . Yet participants remained true to the codes of peace and non-violence. And refused to back down.

The seeds of peaceful non-violent civil disobedience action have been planted deep in the heart of Hong Kong people.

This movement is an awakening of the civil spirit. Citizens offer what they can, with conviction, expecting to call the conscience of politicians and bureaucrats to account.

Wellbeing, decency and peace constitute our common dream. It is also the will of God. Let us strive to make it real for our city.

There can be no peace without justice, because ‘The fruit of justice will be peace, the effect of justice will be quietness and confidence forever. (Isaiah 32:17) ‘Love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will embrace.’ (Psalm 25:10) 

No society can do without law and order. When law is used only to safeguard the benefit of the vested interests, it would provide institutional approval to acts of illegality and domination. Thus the basis of social morality would varnish, and those without power become sacrificial lambs on the altar of the Rule of Law.

In the name of state security, a so-called “peace” is maintained by persecution, exile, arbitrary arrest, adduction and assassination. (C. René Padilla)

Perhaps, you might want to blame all these on ‘Civil Disobedience’.

      Wrong!
      These our problems come with ‘Civil Obedience ‘.

      With such obedience, countless men and women kneel before dictatorial political  
      powers, sucked into wars which kill and maimed hundreds of thousands.

      With such obedience, countless men and women turn a blind eye to poverty, hunger,   
      ignorance, war and brutality.

      With such obedience, petty thieves and petty criminals pack the world’s prisons, while
      perpetrators of the truly evil are honoured as heads of state.
     (Howard Zinn, historian)

Summation

This is 9th of April, 2019. 51 years ago, on the 4th of this month, a man of peace, an advocate of non-violent action for social change, was gunned down. The words of this great man, Dr Martin Luther King still speak to us today.

“Resist, we must. Freedom never comes as a gift. The powerful oppressor would never offer freedom to the oppressed with both hands. Rights and opportunities have to be secured with the sacrifice and suffering of some.”

“Hatred bleeds hatred. Violence begets violence. We must use love to deal with the powers of hate. Our goal is never the defeat or humiliation of white people. On the contrary, ours is to win their friendship and understanding.”

Rev. Martin Luther King once said that without justice, there can be no true harmony. I urge you, who find their home in this city, have compassion on the victims of unjust systems. They include the protesters, also police officers. I pray that compassion would generate courage in us to fight the evil of this unjust system.

In the Umbrella Movement, I am just a bell toller. I ring the bell. And the bell tolls. It gives out a warning sound, that something bad and disastrous is happening. So doing, I hope that consciences may wake up, and together we work together to save the day.

Should I still manage to find some strength in my ageing body, I shall continue to be a bell toller, in church, in the world and in each human heart.

He has made clear to you, O man, what is good; and what is desired from you by the Lord; only doing what is right, and loving mercy, and walking without pride before your God. (Micah6:8)

I, Chu Yiu Ming, Tai Yiu Ting and Chan Kin Man, from the Defendant’s Dock, now wish to declare

We have no regrets,

We hold no grudges, 

No anger,

No grievances.

We do not give up.

In the words of Jesus, “Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God   

requires; The Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!”(Matthew 5:10)

Oh Lord, who is merciful and just - to you I entrust my life, may your will be done!

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