The election suspension came amid a flurry of arrests under the new national security law: Police arrested Jimmy Lai, publisher of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, along with six others at the publication on Aug. 10 for allegedly colluding with foreign forces. In recent weeks, police also arrested four student members of a pro-independence group over online posts and issued arrest warrants for six overseas democracy activists, including American citizen Samuel Chu.
On Aug. 3, during a livestreamed prayer meeting put on by the Hong Kong Pastors Network, Pastor Paul Ma addressed the crackdowns spreading across the city. He reminded Christians they are “more than conquerors” in Christ and that Jesus loves Hong Kong.
In the broadcast, which has accumulated 11,000 views, Ma referenced Romans 8 to assure believers: “Who shall separate us from this love? Shall tribulation, or distress, or the national security law, or Cultural Revolution 2.0, or the cancellation of elections? Nothing will be able to separate us from this love. Nothing will be able to separate us from the love for Hong Kong. Nothing will be able to separate us from true love.”