China Set to Become Top Bible Maker

Even though Chinese Christians are still a religious minority that can only legally obtain Bibles from state-approved churches, the economies of printing seem to be loosening these restrictions. From the Los Angeles Times:

The factory looks like it could be any plant in this export-driven nation. Hundreds of Chinese workers huddle over loud machines churning out large orders for customers at home and abroad.

But what they’re making might surprise you: Bibles. . . . a booming Bible industry is turning the world’s biggest atheist nation into the world’s largest supplier of the Good Book.

Chairman Mao might have said, “Our God is none other than the masses of the Chinese people,” but here at Nanjing Amity Printing Co., China’s only state-sanctioned Bible printer, little time is wasted pondering the contradictions of a metaphysical mismatch.

“We are printers,” said Li Chunnong, the general manager of the plant, which has about 500 employees. “As long as somebody legitimate sends us an order, we will print them.”

China has also decided to allow Amity Printing Co. to distribute Bibles to Olympic athletes. From the Times U.K.:

After months of rumours that the Chinese authorities would ban Bibles during the Beijing Olympics, it may now be taken as gospel that Christians will be free to practise their religion during the Games.

A British-based Christian charity has confirmed that 50,000 special bilingual booklets containing the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John will be made available in the Athletes’ Village in Beijing and five other Olympic cities. Ten thousand Bibles and 30,000 New Testaments will also be printed.

It is the first time that Bibles have been distributed freely in China outside registered shops and with the full blessing of the Communist Party. Far from suppressing their distribution, the Beijing Olympic organising committee (Bocog) is putting its official stamp on the initiative by allowing the free use of its logo on the Scriptures.

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