Tobias Brandner describes situation in Hong Kong in Swiss media

Tobias Brandner in Hong Kong, in the background one of the prisons. Photo: Christoph Mächler/Mission 21

Like a "heavy hand laying over Hong Kong" Tobias Brandner describes the situation in Hong Kong in the article at "reformiert. More than 10,000 residents were arrested when Hong Kong was rocked by protests around the introduction of the new and controversial security law in 2019. Meanwhile, 300 people were convicted, including journalists and students. Around 8,000 people are currently detained in the port city.

The Swiss pastor Tobias Brandner is an international co-worker of Mission 21. He has been visiting prisoners in penal institutions of the former British Crown Colony since 1998 and feels the aggravations firsthand. He reports in the portrait of the French daily newspaper "Le Temps" that in February 2021 he was assigned a representative of the authorities for the first time, who did not leave his side even during the talks with the prisoners. Confidentiality was particularly important during these talks.

Subversive power of faith

Brandner, who is also a professor of theology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, spends the day in prison five times a month. In the meantime, the supervision has decreased again, Brandner says in the article of "reformiert." Nevertheless, it is not like it used to be. For example, the chaplain always has to report which inmates he spoke with during his visits.

He tells Le Temps that many of the political prisoners are Christians, including Jimmy Lai and Joshua Wong. "This strengthens my belief in the subversive power of faith," he smiles. He is not confident about the future of the small territory, writes "Le Temps" at the end of the portrait. Nevertheless, he believes that the people of Hong Kong will not quickly give up their fight for democracy: "They are tenacious and resilient."

► Article on the "reformiert.info" website

► Portrait on the website of the newspaper "Le Temps

► Mission 21 education project in Hong Kong for social change

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