Into the Forbidden City

The lawless area that I described in an earlier post (‘The Infamous Kai Tak airport’, Hong Kong category), which non-Chinese were warned to avoid at all times, had a Christian drop-in center deep in its interior.  An English lady, Jackie Pullinger, had somehow, miraculously, obtained a small enclosed area that she visited after ten o’clock on most nights, spreading the Christian message to anyone who would listen.  Very fluent in Chinese, she had become a local fixture inside the lawless area, and the Triads left her alone.

As drug dealers, the Triad members were susceptible to using their own contraband.  As members sank deeper into addiction, they became less useful to the Triads.  The Triads then had no objection to Jackie’s attempts to rehabilitate these addicts.

Jackie’s advice was to ‘accept Jesus Christ and hand the addiction over to Him’.  Her message was that their immortal soul was far more important than their drug addiction.  She had faith that the Lord would deal with the addiction problem in His own good time.

Jackie then had a small congregation of Christians who were deeply into drugs.  Fervently she prayed for an answer to the dilemma.

The answer came with the Willans’ work.  Jackie joined forces with the Willans’ drug rehabilitation program and brought her Christian addicts to be cured.  The results were, well, miraculously effective!

Of course, the newly clean Christians no longer associated with the Triad Societies.  To do so would only invite a slide back into drug-addicted hell.

One Saturday, while visiting a Willans’ safe house (they had more than one), a young Chinese man (probably a former Triad) invited to take me to Jackie Pullinger’s drop-in center in the Forbidden City.  I was nervous about it, but the man assured me that ‘the Lord would protect’ me.

So, in we went, under the continuous sheets of black plastic film overhead.  I passed work areas, printing presses, fabric manufacturers, down the narrow halls lined above and on both sides with black plastic film.  Poles and electric lines held the plastic in place.  I was horrified at the slipshod, makeshift way that multiple electric cables were just strung from pole to pole, dangling over each other.

Deeper and deeper we went, inside this lawless city, forbidden to people like me.

Then, tucked into a wall, was a little alcove, with signs in Chinese, that translated to phrases like ‘Christ is the answer’, and ‘Jesus loves you’.

And, yes, I did make it out alive.

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