China Archives

The Most Bibles

Which country produces the most Bibles? I thought this would be a simple question; the United States, the most capitalist country around. Lots of people, and a jillion different translations, paraphrases and parallel versions would make for a big market.

Not so. This may surprise you, until you think about it a bit.

When one thinks of China, Christianity and the Bible are likely two of the furthest things that come to mind. “Communism,” “forced abortions,” one-child policy” and other terms are, more generally, what’s the nation is known for. But now, a shocking new development has come to the forefront: China, a country that makes many products consumed in the U.S. and abroad, is now also the world’s largest Bible producer.

Amity Printing Company is the only outfit in China that is permitted to produce Christian Bibles. While the Chinese government doesn’t have the most stellar record when it comes to religious freedom, Amity Printing has been fast at work, with the company’s chairman, Qiu Zhonghui, announcing that the business published its 100 millionth Bible in July.

According to a report by Christian Today [Ed.: not "Christianity Today"], the Amity has printed 60 million Bibles, including nine ethnic minority editions in various languages. Additionally, 40 million copies were printed in more than 90 languages and sent to about 70 nations and regions across the globe.

Not bad for a printing company founded in 1988.

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    …as opposed to the many other criteria unrelated to peace that were used in the past.  Liu Xiaobo is in prison for "subversion" for trying to free the people of China from the Communists, and this is a well-deserved honor, if rather late in coming.

    And why is Liu Xiaobo being given an award also given to Yassar Arafat, Al Gore and Barack Obama?  Why this very uneven standard of the pursuit of peace?  Claudia Rosett has some thoughts.

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      Some Friday Links, 9/26

      Counterterrorism Blog: Where We’ve Come since 9/11,

      At the time of the Sept. 11 attacks, al Qaeda was a centralized, hierarchical organization that directed international terrorist operations from its base in Afghanistan. By 2004, al Qaeda appeared to be in disarray, with its capabilities dramatically diminished. That picture has changed substantially over the past few years, as al Qaeda’s center has grown stronger once again, with its new safe haven in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where it can train and recruit operatives, and direct its global propaganda efforts.
      ***

      Does the fact there has been no successful attack on the U.S., since 9/11, mean that we haven’t been attacked? Read No Aattack in the US since 9-11?, also at Counterterrorism Blog.

      ***

      Obama continues to play politics as usual run a campaign of change by attempting to convince the Iraqis to postpone drawing up troop withdrawal agreements until after he’s elected.

      ***

      China has perfected time travel (HT: Ron’s Bloviating).

      A news story describing a successful launch of China’s long-awaited space mission and including detailed dialogue between astronauts launched on the Internet Thursday, hours before the rocket had even left the ground. (emphasis added)

      Add this to the Chinese successfully time transporting child gymnasts into the future.

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        Relief for China and Myanmar

        I heard Hugh Hewitt talk about the organization "Caring for China" which is helping in the relief effort following the massive earthquake there.  They are currently taking donations.

        In the meantime, while the government of Myanmar is blocking or hampering aid efforts, the folks from The Salvation Army are providing meals from their own cupboards to the needy there.  If you’d like to donate to them, click here.

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          Free Tibet

          By the end of this summer we will all be sick of the up-close-and-personal glimpses of the wonders of China, as Olympic commentators swoon over the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.  But for now, the absolutely brilliant timing of the Dalai Lama and the oppressed people of Tibet is breathtaking, and the sheer panic in the Chinese leadership is palpable. 

          While I have not paid much attention over the years to the Free Tibet bumper stickers that one sees only in the liberal and campus enclaves of folks looking for an offbeat cause, I may find a Free Tibet sticker now.  Beijing has been rebuilding and scrubbing the city and the country for years, with the 2008 Olympics planned as the debutaunt ball of the new China.   With the world watching, the Chinese debutaunte has a pimple on her face.

          I was part of the battle in the 90s to maintain the Most Favored Status for China that Doug wrote about earlier this week.  Our public relations firm created and represented a group called the Association of Christian Ministries in China, arguing that engagement benefited missions and allowed Christians to travel to and be witnesses in China as tentmakers.  I believe this was the right strategy and that it has produced many successes.

          But the huge capitalistic engine of China is still in a Communist vehicle that runs over the many people who threaten its hegemony, including the monks of Tibet. 

          The Christian position must be to use opporunities such as the Olympics to put pressure on the Chineses government to assure human rights and religious freedom for all of its people.   I call on President Bush to follow the lead of French President Sarkozy and urge the boycotting of the Olympic Opening Ceremony, which will otherwise be a public relations show for the Chinese. 

          My wife and I have been to Beijing twice and we came away in awe of the historic sites and the incredible remaking of the city.  We heard the personal hope and promise of capitalism in the people we met; they are amazed that in the new system if you work hard you can make more money.

          But a short business and tourism trip isn’t enough to see the continuing human rights violations.  To hear about that we depend on the voices of the people; like the voices we have heard from Tibet this month.

          Carry the Olympic torch of freedom for Tibet, and keep alive the flame of  full human rights and religious freedom in China.  

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            Engaging the Chinese Government

            During the debate some years ago over whether or not to continue to grant China “Most Favored Nation” trading status, the pro side of the argument included the idea that if we isolate China, their actions against Christians, and the religious in general, would get worse. They could do it outside of the view of the world and would be unhindered by their watching eyes. Keeping trade open would allow external influences to affect the culture.

            I personally wasn’t convinced, but it was a reasonable argument. So how’s it going there these days?

            The violent protests in Tibet that began last week and have since spread across (and beyond) China are frequently depicted as a secessionist threat to Beijing. But the regime’s deeper problem in the current crisis is neither ethnic nor territorial. It’s religious.

            If there’s a template for Beijing’s policy on religion, it’s the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” In 1995, the regime effectively kidnapped Gendun Choekyi Nyima, a 6-year-old boy named by the Dalai Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama, the second-highest ranking figure in Tibetan Buddhism. In Nyima’s place, Beijing designated its own “official” Panchen Lama, the slightly younger Gyaltsen Norbu. Nyima’s whereabouts, assuming he’s alive, are unknown. More recently, a new set of “implementation regulations” on Tibetan religious affairs has come into force, drastically curtailing the freedom of monks and nuns to travel within China, and introducing political themes into the qualification exams required of religious initiates. Of the roughly 100 Tibetan political prisoners, fully three-quarters are monks or nuns.

            Much the same goes with China’s Christians. The regime has substituted its own Catholic hierarchy — the Catholic Patriotic Association — for Rome’s since 1957, leading to endless friction between the Pope and the Communist Party. Similarly, Chinese Protestantism officially operates under the so-called “Three-Self Patriotic Movement” (the three “selfs” being self-governance, self-support and self-propagation), which in turn is regulated by the party. “The purpose of [the regime's] nominal degree of sympathy for Christianity is to indoctrinate and mobilize for Communist Party objectives,” says journalist David Aikman, author of the 2003 book “Jesus in Beijing.” “I’ve often joked that the most leftist people in China are members of the Three-Self Church.”

            I’m not really seeing how the world’s eyes have done much to curb government abuses in China. Not even the arrival of the Olympics there has helped. In fact, it’s possible that it’s causing more oppression so that the government puts it best facade forward.

            But there is good news…

            Read the rest of this entry

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