Notting Hill church screens banned Hong Kong protest documentary

St John’s Church in Notting Hill held a screening of Inside The Red Brick Wall last Saturday to help fundraise for the England Good Neighbour Church.

Roy Chan, pastor for the England Good Neighbour Church, lived in Hong Kong until last year when the authorities froze his bank account while he was on holiday in the UK.

He and the Good Neighbour North District Church in Hong Kong were involved in the protest movement against the Hong Kong government.

It followed the proposal of a bill that would allow for the transfer of fugitives to mainland China.

According to Hong Kong authorities, between June 2019 – September 2020 the church raised 27 million Hong Kong Dollars – around 2.6 million pounds – but only acknowledged a third of that sum.

Chan denies all allegations of fraud and believes that he and the church were targeted because of their outspoken political activism against the government.

“My feeling is very sad because, in my sermon, I talked about how I was outside the Polytechnic University and couldn’t get inside to help members of my church,” Chan said.

“There was nothing I could do: I felt hopeless.”

The church had three other screenings of the movie planned in Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester.

Chan explained that the point of the screenings, which were offered for free, was to foster connections in the expat community.

The events also helped fundraise for a permanent UK home for the Good Neighbour Church.

While the event struck a sombre tone Chan emphasised the importance of remembrance and organising for future success.

He added: “I hope that Hong Kong people in the UK will join together and fight for freedom with the same heart.”

Inside the Red Brick Wall documents the 13-day siege of Hong Kong Polytechnic University by police after activists blockaded the neighbouring Cross-Harbour tunnel, one of the major road links to the mainland.

Protestors used the university to organise the defence of the road block, the Hong Kong Police Force responded by blocking campus exits and forbidding protestors from leaving.

The film follows activists inside the university, many of whom are under 18, as they desperately try to break the police containment.

According to a BBC report, in a single day of protests police used 1,458 gas canisters, 1,391 rubber bullets, 325 bean bag rounds and 265 sponge bullets.

Kelvin, who is using a pseudonym, was a resident in Hong Kong until last year, when he fled the city for fear of political repression.

“It’s not a story,” Kelvin said.

“It is very real – I was there personally.”

He detailed his participation in protests against the police lockdown of the University, joining the crowds of people that tried to push the police away from the school.

Kelvin described watching the documentary as overwhelming.

Despite not being religious he said that attending the Good Neighbour screening was important because it helped bring Hong Kong expats together to support each other.

He added: “It’s not safe and any moment I could be accused.

“You can be accused for anything—there were constant rumours that the borders could be closed.”

Featured Image: Studio Incendo, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

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