The Bible is under attack in China and access is as crisis levels.
While the rest of the world is concentrating on the coronavirus, China is making aggressive moves to remove the Bible from China once and for all.
“Is there really a need for more Bibles,” a pastor asked me in 2008, just before the Beijing Olympics. “I have been hearing from so many reliable sources that there are more than enough Bibles inside China, but then you tell me that there is a big need for Bibles in China. I honestly do not know what to believe.”
It was heartbreaking to hear this same story told over and over again. So many honest Christians in the west were confused as to why there were so many contradictory reports regarding Bibles in China.
At the same time as I was meeting with this pastor, a well known religious leader strongly announced that there was, “absolutely no need to smuggle Bibles into China any more.”
Echoing that sentiment was a one of the largest Christian outlets reporting, “First, legal Bibles are not in short supply. The Red Guards confiscated Bibles, so that after the Cultural Revolution, the most pressing need of Christians in China was for Bibles. A decade of illegal Bible smuggling met part of the need, but it put Christians in the difficult position of supporting an illegal activity. After three years of negotiations, the Amity Press was able to begin printing Bibles legally. The printing plant I visited has printed almost 30 million copies since 1986.”
Add to this, last year in 2019, Amity International in China announced that they had just printed a world record of 200 million Bibles. How does a country with 200 million Bibles possibly need more?
The truth is, China has been deceiving Christians for years by shuffling the numbers and make a profit in the process.
→ China receives donations to print Bibles.
→ China uses that money to print most of their Bibles in other languages – not Chinese
→ Those subsidized Bibles are then sold for full price to customers overseas for massive profits.
→ China ONLY prints 3.5 million Bibles per year in Chinese, but not all of them are distributed in China and less than half of them are full Bibles. At the very least, 2 million of these Bibles are New Testament only.
→ That leaves only 1.5 million complete Bibles per year for China – at the most.
→ China has over 100 million Christians and at the the current rate it will take over 100 years to print a Bible for every Christian.
It gets worse.
→ China has as many as 1 million new believers per month. China does not currently print enough Bibles for two months of new believers.
So the truth is that there were NEVER enough Bibles in China.
So why were so many Christian organizations saying that there were enough Bibles in China and causing confusion?
Well, there are unfortunately several reasons for this.
First, many Christians wanted to believe the government. Several Christian organizations around the world saw an opportunities to work in China and wanted to do so legally. Friendships were developed with government officials and trust was formed. This led to many Christian outlets repeating what they heard from the officials in China.
Secondly, there were several new-comers in China after the year 2007 as China started to open up for the Olympics. There was a deep ignorance about the level of deception practiced by the Chinese government.
Thirdly, in a few cases, there was a selfish desire by some Christian organizations to do whatever it took to gain favor with the government to gain access to China.
Today however, the government is so openly attacking the church and destroying Bibles, that there is not much left to hide.
Now the situation is the worse it has been in the last two decades and the problem is growing bigger by the day.
There is more of a need for Bibles in China than there has been in recent memory and there are five main reasons why.
The world is simply upside down right now. For the first time in history, more people are on lock-down than ever before. A deadly virus is wreaking havoc on the entire world and it all goes back to the Chinese Communist Party.
The suppression of information is second nature for the Communist Party. They have been doing it to the Christians for decades and now the entire world can see what the deadly results can be.
The first reason why there is a Bible shortage in China is because of the new wave of persecution against the church. In 2018, China passed new laws against Christians that were the most harsh and extreme in more than 20 years.
The New Regulations on Religious Affairs, which came into effect in 2018 does not seem to be going away any time soon. According to the new law, “without the examination and approval of the Religious Affairs Department of the People’s Government, or without registration with the Civil Affairs Department of the People’s Government, no activities may be carried out in the name of religious organizations.”
Unfortunately, there is no sign of regulations getting easier. In 2020, even in the face of the deadly coronavirus, the government added EVEN MORE REGULATIONS!
These brand new regulations, consisting of six chapters and 41 articles, require religious leaders and organizations to display complete devotion to the Chinese Communist Party. Article 5 reads, “Religious organizations must spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as national laws, regulations, rules to religious personnel and religious citizens, educating religious personnel and religious citizens to support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, supporting the socialist system, adhering to and following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics….”
These laws are different than previous laws in that they attempt to infiltrate Christian ideas with Communist teachings. Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the idea of inserting so-called “Chinese characteristics” into religion. For decades, China’s government has controlled religious groups through its system of monitored, official religious organizations, but it has not really worked.
What they are doing now is joining the church and changing the teaching from the inside.
President Xi’s approach is a significant turning point. Authorities launched a five-year plan for reworking religion so that the Communist Party sits at it’s dictatorial head. Under this, officials throughout China have asked churches to fly the national flag while destroying religious imagery, such as crosses, or church buildings. In churches run by the state, Christians are commanded to sing patriotic songs and listen to pro-Communist Party sermons.
The persecution is so intense that it is leading to less Bibles being printed and less Bibles being delivered.
The second reason why there is a Bible shortage in China is because Bibles are are currently being confiscated and destroyed by the government.
On December 1, 2019, hundreds of government and public security personnel were dispatched to close a house church in Lanxi and disperse the 30 Christians who were gathering. Lanxi is in Zhejiang Province, not far from Shanghai.
During the incident, 11 church members were seriously injured and their Bibles confiscated.
The police took Bibles, teaching materials, computers, keyboards, guitars – everything that could be connected with the church.
On the morning of the incident, Lanxi officials sent more than 300 government personnel. That is ten times the number of Christians that were at the gathering!
Uniformed public security officers surrounded the church where the 30 Christians were worshipping. Then the police swat team moved in, forcing their way into the home, and clearing the rooms.
If any church attendees resisted or attempted to take photos, the authorities hit or kick them. Of the 11 injured Christians, some sustained fractures while others had their hair pulled out of their heads or were put in headlocks. Finally, church members who resisted the authorities were arrested and released after intimidation. All of the church assets used for services were also removed.
According to local Christians, government officials did not produce any law enforcement documents and did not record the event. Instead, they only made verbal announcements, claiming at the scene that the Christians had violated the new religious regulations.
Below is a photo screenshot from a video that was taken from outside of the scene where the raid took place.
The photo above, obtained by CHINA AID, shows the church on January 28th, 2020 when the police came to close it down for being in violation of the new law.
It has been thought that the new religious laws against Christians would be relaxed while China deals with the crisis of the coronavirus, but persecution has actually increased.
In September 2019, Chinese officials raided a church, confiscated Bibles, and then burned all of the Bibles.
A video of officials piling up Bibles and burning them was filmed by one of the church members. Below is a screen shot from the video of those Bibles being piled up and burned.
The third reason why there is a Bible shortage is because China is trying to write their own version of the Bible.
YES! You read that last line correctly.
To stop the astronomical growth of Christianity in China, the Chinese government has devised a new plan – rewrite the Bible.
According to Rev. Bob Fu in his testimony to Congress, founder of China Aid, the Chinese government plans to incorporate Buddhist scripture and Confucian teachings into the Bible and edit worship songs to include Chinese characteristics.
The official government church and the Chinese Christian Council (China’s state-sanctioned Protestant bodies) have developed a five-year plan to make the Chinese Bible translation more Chinese by adding elements of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Communism.
The plan, finalized at a meeting last March, proposes “cultivating and implementing the socialist core values” and will be supervised by the national religious affairs bureau. “Every province, autonomous region and municipality’s TSPM and CCC seminaries and churches will cooperate with it,” according to Fu.
The Chinese government currently controls the ordination and training of the clergy members, but that has not stopped the growth of the illegal underground house church. The Chinese government controls the number of new members that are allowed to baptized per year. The government even controls how many Bibles are allowed to be printed and distributed per year, but none of this has stopped the amazing growth of the underground house church.
The fourth reason why there is a Bible shortage is because China is blocking all electronic Bible apps and digital Bible purchases.
Many Chinese, like the rest of the world, have started to rely on digital Bibles from their phone, tablet, or laptop.
Last year, China started a major push to purge all access to outside sources for Chinese digital Bibles. In 2018, right after the new laws in China were passed, the online gateway for digital Bibles was shut down. Chinese Christians who searched for the word “Bible” on retailers like Taobao, Jingdong, Dang Dang, Amazon.cn, or Alibaba got the message “no results.”
In addition, China has been working overtime to block Bible apps, VPNs, and online Bible access.
China released a document outlining how they planned to promote “Chinese Christianity,” which is not really Biblical Christianity, but is a atheistic socialist idea of what Christianity should be.
In order for China to push out it’s own version of the Bible, the party must first get rid of all outside versions of the real Bible.
The fifth reason why there is a Bible shortage is because China has launched digital monitoring as the world has never seen.
What is happening to Christians in China today is very well known in regards to the social credit score. The entire society in China are extremely dependent on social media and they now have a social credit score that monitors and rates their activity. The social credit score is based on the activities that the Chinese government can see on your account. They look at where you have been, who your friends are, how you spend your free time, how you do at your job and determine a “trust-worthy” score.
This “trust-worthy” score has been directly targeting Christians.
If you do things that the government does not like – like go to church or hang out with known Christians – then your score is lowered.
In China, a low score prohibits you from buying plane tickets, train tickets, a passport, restricts your job opportunities, obtaining medical care, and even keeps your children from getting into school.
Many Chinese Christians today are being evicted from their homes, fired from their jobs, and unfriended on social media because they have a low social credit scores.
This monitoring has increased even more during the coronvirus. BTJ was regularly getting updates from Wuhan Christians in February 2020, but then, suddenly, the communication stopped. “I wanted to send you pictures and a video [about our ministry on the street],” one evangelist wrote that is a partner with BTJ, “but my pictures and video are being deleted from my phone.”
China has been using their access to personal communication devices to not only monitor communication, but also to control and delete it.
“We are not able to leave our home right now,” another evangelist wrote to BTJ. “Our ID cards state that our home is in another area of China. The coronavirus has given the government an excuse to watch over our living quarters. If we leave our home and the guards ask to check our ID, they will see that we are not supposed to be living in the area that we are serving in and will not allow us to return home.”
It is a scary situation at the moment for all believers. Anyone involved in illegal printing, smuggling, or delivering the Bible is easily monitored by the government.
This is why BTJ is helping with getting more Bibles into the hands of believers. We print and deliver hundreds of thousands of Bibles every year and to continue this we need your help.
Each Bible costs about $3 USD to print and deliver and today China needs as many as can be supported. You can join this effort by simply clicking here: