Smuggling is an illegal art by definition. However, some people have been able to legitimize it, or even glamorize it. For example by adding a divine term, such as “God’s smuggler,” Brother Andrew became very famous (and effective) smuggling Bibles into the Soviet Union. So it seems that if smuggling is done with a high (there’s nothing higher than God) purpose, and especially to go around, or under, an oppressive regime, it could become quite acceptable, and even heroic.
走私當然是違法的。然而，有人卻能夠將它合法化，甚至以它為榮。 比如加一個神聖的術語，像“神的走私者”。Brother Andrew安德魯弟兄就因為把聖經走私到蘇聯而聞名（也的確是有效）。這樣看來如果走私是懷著崇高的目的（沒有什麼比神更高), 尤其是在壓迫政權下，就很容易接受，甚至是一種英雄行為。
In fact using this kind of logic I had some very good friends who engaged in creative smuggling of Bibles in Asia, at a time when atheistic communism was very oppressive. Often they would be given their assignment in Hong Kong, and then in various guises would pack their suitcases full of Bibles, and then enter through various routes into the country. Apparently they never got caught and they did send in quite a number of Bibles, at a time when Bibles were relatively scarce and generally prohibited. Today there is nearly no need to “smuggle” Bibles since Asia prints and sells the largest number of Bibles in the world.
實際上正是這種邏輯，我的一些很好的朋友也在亞洲從事聖經的走私，那時無神論的共產主義對此深惡痛絕。好友通常在香港接受任務，然後通過各式偽裝把聖經打包，繼而借助各種途徑過關而進入內陸在那個聖經相對稀缺並且通常是被禁的時代， 他們非但沒有被捕，並且還分發了很多本聖經。現在幾乎沒有必要“走私” 聖經了，因為亞洲是世界上印刷並售賣最多數量聖經的地方。
However sometimes dramatic smuggling efforts did not go according to plan. In a historic case, one big shipment of Bibles was all wrapped carefully in plastic, and sunk off the southern coast of the country, destined for later retrieval by local compatriots. Only to be discovered by local authorities, which raised an international hue and cry, and much embarrassment to the man arranging this creative effort. In this kind of effort, one could become a hero or a villain very quickly. Or an embarrassed villain could later still become a hero, as the story gets retold.
For generations, many Asians have lived under fairly oppressive governments, and often their governments are engaged in all kinds of corrupt practices. With this background, for likely hundreds of years, people who cross borders have learned how to evade the corrupt practices of border agents, who are always seeming to be looking eagerly to extort some kind of “tax” for crossing borders. In Chinese there is even a term, guo lu fei or “across the road fee.” Hence the art of creative smuggling has long been around, and probably ingrained in the Asian psyche somewhere. This mentality begins to conflict when Asians now meet, in the modern world, with more legitimate rules.
For example there are laws in the USA that prohibit dried beef or pork being brought into the country. Primarily this is a protectionism effort to prevent people bringing in food from overseas, which theoretically could compete with so-called vital industries such as beef and pork. Creative Asians have often put their tasty dried beef or pork in the bottom of cans of tea leaves, and it is a sport for the immigration authorities to try to figure out which Asian is bringing in such contraband.
Recently moon cakes have been banned from being brought into the USA because of concern regarding avian flu in the key delicious egg yolk component. One of my good friends was stopped at the Seattle immigration for transporting moon cakes containing egg yolks That report is now logged in her cross-border record, along with tons of data that agents are collecting about protecting us poor citizens from terrorists. Of course, one never knows, egg yolks could be dangerous weapons.
I remember bringing in twenty VCDs of the “Jesus story” into Shenzhen (in southern China) from Hong Kong. In those days, only a few decades ago, such materials were treated with more drama. The border agent opened my baggage and stared at the 20 VCDs in clear sight laid out on the top of all my other belongings. He was very excited. He yelled for the other agents, and they all swarmed around the suspect luggage. He exclaimed to them, “these are the Jesus people!” Then he started to look over each of the VCDs. He spotted a lot of other Christian books also, so he went through all of them too.
我記得有一次把二十張耶穌故事的光盤從香港帶到深圳(中國南部城市). 在那時,也就是幾十年前,人們更覺得這些東西即刺激又害怕. 海關打開我的行李眼睛盯著那鋪在其他行李上面的20張光盤. 他非常興奮,呼喊著他的同事, 圍在那行李的周圍, 他向同事喊著:”这是耶穌人!”然後他就開始看每一張光盤, 他還認出了基督信仰的其他書籍,并也一一查看.
He stacked up my VCDs and books very neatly on the counter, and then said very seriously to me, “we will have to review all the VCDs for their content.” I reminded him that the National Constitution provided for freedom of religion, and since we had 20 people in our team, that number should be acceptable. He sort of agreed, I guess, since he returned to me all the literature, and said “send someone to our office to pick up the VCDs in a few days.” Sure enough, we got the videos all back, and were amused that they likely had an interesting time viewing all the very informative and important VCDs. I assume they did not consider me to be “smuggling,” though it would be fun to see what they noted in my record. Maybe: “doctor, professor, unlikely amateur smuggler…..”
I think that generally one should follow cross border rules, so probably smuggling is not such a great idea (especially if caught), but if one is passionate about a higher ideal, or a higher power, there may be no choice but to follow one’s conscience, though realizing the possible legal consequences, which one should “gladly suffer for.” Furthermore, whether one becomes an embarrassment, or a hero, depends on factors generally out of one’s control.
People only smuggle important things; no one smuggles unimportant or non delicious things. The Book that is most smuggled in the world must be important or delicious. Actually it stresses that we are to submit to the authorities, even difficult regimes, and to pray for them. But it adds a great twist, that we ultimately answer to the Greatest Authority. That really says it all.
人們只走私重要的東西,沒人走私不重要或者不可口的東西. 世界上走私最多的書一定是重要的或可口的. 實際上重要的是我们要顺从當局或者強權,并要為他們禱告. 但它也增加了一種偉大的轉換,儘管我們應該順服當權者，我們最終服務的是至高無上的神。這也就說明了一切。