Reconsidering Social Services and Christian Churches in Post-War Hong Kong, 1940s-1970s

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This paper considers the social services spearheaded by Christian churches in post-war Hong Kong (1940s-1970s) from an indigenous perspective. We argue that Hong Kong church social service in the 1940s-1970s should be inspected by an indigenous lens because such service neglects the indigenous knowledge of the working-class Chinese service receivers. We first lay out the background of British colonialism and social welfare, modern social welfare and the association between social services and Christianity, and Hong Kong society after the Second World War. Then, we elaborate on social services offered by the missionaries and churches in Hong Kong, and consider their long-term impacts on social development, advocacy for social reform, and justice. We do so by assessing archival materials, including An Oral and Documentary History of Hong Kong Protestant Christians (Hong Kong Baptist University), Hong Kong Heritage Project (CLP Power), Elsie Tu Papers (Hong Kong Baptist University), Files Relating to General Administration and Activities of the Former Social Welfare Office and the Social Welfare Department (Government Record Office of Hong Kong), Open Public Record of the National Archives of United Kingdom (UK Government), and A Documentary History of Hong Kong (University of Hong Kong Press). We conclude that instead of focusing on providing services, the indigenous lens can be used to show how the Christian church should consider its position in social service, negotiating with the administration and different community stakeholders in promoting social justice and transformation, empowering those it serves to be involved in the decision-making process.


SymposiumThe 13th International Symposium on the History of Christianity in Modern China: Archives and the History of Chinese Christianity in Modern Times = 第十三屆近代中國基督教史國際學術研討會
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
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