I recently spent a couple of weeks in China. The reason for my visit is immaterial, but it did provide me with some interesting insight and, perhaps, future material for new novels.
I want to explode a few myths that we Americans may have:
1. Atlanta, Los Angles, D.C., New York or any other city in America do NOT have the worst drivers in the world. Any medium to large city in China has them easily beat.
2. The do NOT hate Americans in general, many of them like us and I got to be friends with some of those. Most don’t know us and don’t have much of an opinion one way or another. That is, except for the fact that they don’t see why we would expect THEM to understand English.
3. Christianity is NOT illegal in China. There are rules about it, and the state controls many of the things that can be said, but it is also quite a bit freer than you might imagine. I watched a couple of church services on Chinese television.
4. Security is very good at their airports, much better than we have it in the U.S. And their screening is far faster and more efficient than TSA.
5. Not everyone in China wants to leave China for America. Most of the Chinese that I met love their country.
There are a few things about China that were maybe not so great:
1. There are really only two classes, either you have a lot of money, or you have almost no money. I did not see much of a middle class at all.
2. While food is usually pretty inexpensive, almost everything else is not, at least by Chinese standards.
3. There is a heavy police and military presence in all the cities that I visited (two that I went to and one that I had a stop-over in.) There was never any doubt that this was a totalitarian government.
4. Sanitation still needs a lot of work in the cities. My olfactory equipment doesn’t work very well, but the odors cut through even my poor sensitivity.
Please understand that I was not there for any great length of time, so take my observations with a grain of salt. There are many others that have much greater and longer experience than I do with China, all I can tell you is what I saw and what I felt.
To a person, the Chinese people that I met were polite and seemed to be genuine. There did not seem to be a lot of fake smiles, the type that I often see with Chinese immigrants in this country (sorry, but it’s true.)
The biggest issue that I had with China was sin. Gambling and prostitution used to be open in the city I primarily stayed in. To the point where prostitutes would knock on your hotel door at one or two in the morning looking for employment. A lot of that has been cleaned up, and the better hotels have good security to stop the random hooker. The problem is, it isn’t gone, it just went underground.
I didn’t see it firsthand, but I have been assured by many of the people that I met that it is all still there, all you need do is ask any cab driver or hotel concierge. Is that any different than what we have in the U.S. though? But it doesn’t stop there.
Bribery seems to be a way of life in many areas. Again, I will state that I have no firsthand knowledge of it happening, but I believe that I have seen the effects of it and no, I can’t and won’t give details. There are people that I am going to protect.
In general, the populace appears to be either Buddhist or confirmed atheists. I am of the opinion that Siddhārtha Gautama (Buddha) would have been horrified at the idea that he has been deified. I’ve read some of his teachings, and that is not at all what he was after. As for the atheists, when you are taught to believe that the government is everything, there is no room for any other God. The ones in our country don’t have the same excuse. In any case, both are rebellion (unwittingly or willingly) against God. The very definition of sin.
But there are also a surprising number of people who want to know about God and His Son. Here’s a surprise for you, my books are available in China (paperback only) as are some other Christian books. I will never know how many people have or do order my books, I will never receive a dime in royalty payments for them and, frankly, I don’t care. I just pray that someone who reads and speaks English is buying them there and then passing them along to someone else.
When it is all said, and done, I enjoyed my stay in China. Everyone that I had dealings with were wonderful, honorable people. I pray that someday I can repay their kindness and generosity toward me.
Have a great week everyone,