Public disagreement ignited last fall when the CEO of the Bible Society in New South Wales, Australia, said that sneaking Bibles into China was both unnecessary and dangerous to Christians living there.
Daniel Willis said the new facilities at Amity Printing Company render smuggling obsolete. Amity, the only press in China allowed by the communist government to print Bibles, last May opened a new press capable of printing one million pieces of Christian literature, including Bibles, each month.
"Mr. Willis is to be commended for his commitment to providing Bibles in China," said China Aid president Bob Fu. "However, he has overstated the Amity Press's ability to supply enough Bibles to meet China's pressing need. His conclusion … furthers the misinformation propaganda goals of the Chinese government."
Amity printed about 11 million Bibles and New Testaments in 2008 and about 72 million since the press opened in 1988. But of those, only three million are sold in mainland China each year, said Chow Lien-Hwa, vicechairman of the Amity Press board. Most of the Bibles are printed in other languages and exported to more than 60 countries.
While definite numbers of Chinese Christians are hard to come by, two independent surveys in 2007 counted about 40 million Protestants and about 14 million Catholics among China's population of 1.3 billion.
The question of whether China prints enough Bibles is a red herring, according to Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA. "That's assuming all Bibles are used in all places and that every Bible never wears out and needs to be replaced. The truth is, there will always be a need for [more] Bibles in China." Christians should instead be asking if Bibles are distributed effectively, Moeller ...