I have been thinking about why the cops choose to come when they did. We weren’t really doing anything different than what we had always done.
I have already mentioned the certain areas that they seem to be the most interested in. Also, we know that if we are serving Jesus like we should that persecution can be expected.
So not in an attempt to over analyze the situation, I think there were four “red flags” in one week that caught their attention.
Red Flag #1 – Foreigners. Foreigners seems to always cause some suspicion. There are usually 5-10 foreigners that come to our church each week (not all American). The government doesn’t like this kind of mixing. Also, we had a group of foreigners here the previous Sun. – Wed. that was helping the church, which took our foreigner count up. We did many outreach activities in the area, and were hoping to draw attention from the neighborhood by having the foreigners involved.
Red Flag #2 – Size. As the police were supposedly doing their routine checkup in the housing estate, they entered the daycare and noticed about 150 plus chairs stacked in the corner. They inquire what the chairs were used for and the owner explained that a church rents the space. Seeing that many chairs and standing in a room that could seat 200 people there was concern that this wasn’t just a small group Bible study.
Red Flag #3 – Church. The police now knew that we were a church. We couldn’t hide behind having a business cover, but they knew that we were a church. In China this could mean tons of different things because cults are rampant here. I have read of other groups using the cover of a church to carry out illegal activities. Also, there are churches and organizations focused on politics and are anti-government. So the government needed to know exactly what kind of church we were.
Red Flag #4 – A Phone Call. Three red flags and then the killer, a neighbor gets mad and calls the cops. I am not 100% sure if someone really called, but when the cop was asked why they came that day he replied with “someone gave us a call.” This could of been because someone in the complex got mad because we were teaching thier children about Jesus in the V.B.S. or they didn’t like the Gospel tracts that were being passed out. We are not sure and don’t know thier motives, but you can rest assured, if the neighbor calls the cops, they will be standing at your doorstep.
I think theses four red flags in one week maybe what cause the police to come the following Sunday morning. I don’t think it was just one of them but the combination because…
- We have had a large group of foreigners here before that held a kid’s festival in the middle of the complex and there were no problems (a Police officer even saw it taking place).
- The church in the past rented a space that was just as big if not bigger than the daycare space (the cops saw that place too).
- The police did say they knew about our church for a long time (not sure if that is true or a scare tactic).
…but never did all of these things happen in a week period. Nor do I think that anyone has ever called and reported the church to the cops before. The hard part is most of these things can’t really be avoided.