When we first moved to China, there were a lot of unknowns about how the system here works. You hear tons of stories that make it seem like there are 007 agents following you around everywhere you go. Your phones, computer, and hairdryer are all hacked and people are listening to every word you speak. We acknowledge that the technology does exist and the possibility is there, but it is just hard to believe that I am that important on anyone’s radar.
Then after dealing with the police on several occasion you start to feel less scared and fearful. At least, that is how it has been with us and those we work with. Each time there is something that happens dealing with the law, it also seem to be way less severe than we ever imagined. I am not just talking about religious things, but just everyday life.
The Police Station
After visiting one of the police stations to register months after we arrived here, I was in shock. The local police stations are not very intimidating. Of course any police station is intimidating, but nothing like what you would think. Basically, the rooms have a bed, table, and desktop computer. From what we understood, they can’t even access the internet there, just the the police network. When they tried to enter the information into the computer, they couldn’t figure it out so my translator had to do it for them and I even had to help at one point.
Ignorance of the Law
Another reason that it seems to be less scary than imagined is because a lot of the police don’t seem to know the exact laws. When I was registering, I had to return many times just because they didn’t know what to do when I was there.
When I got a traffic ticket, people didn’t know where to pay it. I went to the police station and the couldn’t find it in their system so they just excused it.
Even recently during the Sunday interruption, they didn’t know exactly what the law was. Then following that when one of the guys went to turn in copies of our passport, the local police station didn’t know anything of it and wouldn’t take it at first (the same place where they were questioned).
Making Police Friends
Making friends with a police officer helps. I made friends with one officer that has been to my house and I have been to his. I have shared the Gospel in his presence, tried to give him a Bible, and even made reference to my future plans. It has helped me see they are real people who need the Gospel too!
The police for the most part have been nice and friendly. Of course there is always a rude one in the bunch.
Even if the police station isn’t what you see on CSI, they don’t have every detail of the law memorized, and you make plenty of police friends, we know that doesn’t stop them from enforcing the law. We know that doesn’t mean we can be reckless in going about our day or ministry. We are still serving in unfavorable circumstances. We take necessary precautions but try not to let the 007 perception take over our lives.