Tuesday, March 06, 2018

30 Years Ago in China

I first stepped foot into China 30 years ago. It was a different place then.

First of all, there were bicycles EVERYWHERE! And hardly any cars at all. They had taxis and delivery vehicles and official vehicles and military vehicles and buses. But practically no one had private ownership of a car.

This is not my original pic, but is representative. This is Wuhan in 1980.

Second of all, foreigners were only issued "Foreign Exchange Certificates" instead of the Renminbi, or the People's Money. In fact, you had to have a special permit to use Renminbi if you were a foreigner. The exchange for the FEC was similar to what it is now (~8FEC to 1USD), but you could get over 60 RMB to 1 USD on the black market. (Just don't get caught with it!) Outside of the very large cities, no one knew what an FEC even was.

Thirdly, Americans (and other Caucasian foreigners) were still a rare sight. A year or so after my first visit, I was in the Guangzhou Zoo. A friend and I were watching the pit of monkeys (maybe 100 or so) and we noticed that the 400-500 Chinese were no longer watching the monkeys, but were watching US watch the monkeys!  Very strange indeed!

When I lived in Hong Kong, I traveled over the border many times. It was described as going back 100 years in just 12 miles. And it was like that. I used to smuggle in Scripture and religious materials from Hong Kong. It was against the law, yet I always declared it on my customs form. They would ask to see it and I would show them my Bible. I would speak very fast and tell them that this was my Bible and it was for me alone to use and I have a whole lot more in my bag, but THIS is my Bible. They never looked in my bag. If I remember right, the customs form at that time, asked if you had drugs, guns, pornography or Bibles.

In 1990 at the Great Wall
I have many wonderful memories of my many visits to China over the past 30 years. It is really hard to find any remnant of the China I remember. But I have my memories.
Pray for the people of China. Pray that God would draw them to Himself and that they would know Jesus.