Doctoral Student Profile: Ann Gillian Chu

Doctoral Student Profile: Ann Gillian Chu

A Reflection on Christian Engagement in Civic Actions under Non-Democratic Governments Based on Hong Kong’s Post-Umbrella Movement Discussions

Ann Gillian Chu. PhD (Divinity) Candidate, University of St Andrews, United Kingdom. MDiv, Regent College, Canada. MA(Hons) English Language, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Supervisors: Dr John Perry, Professor Mario Aguilar


I grew up in Hong Kong as a Canadian and graduated from the University of Edinburgh with Master of Arts (Honours) in English Language. After working as a Chartered Accountant for almost a decade, I pursued a Master of Divinity with Regent College and graduated in April 2018. I am now completing my Doctor of Philosophy (Divinity) with the University of St. Andrews, in the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics.

My research examines how Christians under a non-democratic regime consider civic actions, using Hong Kong’s recent non-violent resistance as a case study. Hong Kong has taken an unusual trajectory, moving from a more free society to a more autocratic society. However, this shift is becoming more common, as with America’s Donald Trump or France’s Marie Le Pen. Yet most of the existing literature of Christian Ethics assumes a post-Christendom democratic society. Therefore, my case study provides a much-needed analysis of how Christians in a non-democratic, non-Christendom society frame civic engagement.

I chose an ethnographic approach because, although some scholars approach the issue from biblical hermeneutic or theological angles, they have not integrated a large-scale ethnographic approach. This approach would provide viewpoints of both the theologians who write and the laity who lived through the resistance.

The scholars who have influenced me profoundly are John Perry, Mario Aguilar, Ross Hastings, and Stanley Hauerwas.

As a Hong Kong Christian, I have a vested interest in reconciling what it means to be a Chinese person from Hong Kong with Christian convictions, especially having lived and worked in Hong Kong during the recent non-violent resistances. This is also the most difficult part of my project, since I might lack a distance from my research. Thus, I’m currently exploring my uniqueness as a researcher.

You can find out more about my research here: