China’s only company authorized to print Bibles yesterday produced its 80 millionth holy book, to praise from government officials and overseas church leaders’ blessings.
The number means China has become one of the biggest Bible publishers in the world, said Qiu Zhonghui, chairman of the board of Amity Printing Co Ltd.
One in four Bibles in the world are printed in China,
Based in Nanjing, Amity Printing is a joint venture between China’s Amity Foundation and the United Bible Societies. The company was founded in 1988 and now produces 1 million Bibles each month.
“The production of 80 million Bible copies can be attributed to the work of China’s Christians, and, more importantly, the country’s reform and opening-up policy,” Qiu said in a celebration ceremony in Nanjing.
The company publishes more than 50 editions of the Bible, including Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Braille and Chinese ethnic languages. To ensure the quality of the Braille edition, the company hired a visually-impaired worker. “The Braille Bible takes 32 Braille books, and we print only two Braille Bibles a day,” Qiu said.
“In addition to Chinese churches, we have exported more than 26 million Bibles in different languages to more than 60 countries and regions, or 32 percent of the total publications,” he said.
Reverend Heikki Hilvo, regional coordinator of Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church, said he was astonished to learn that the company had printed 80 million Bibles. China is a country full of miracles, he added.
Jiang Jianyong, deputy director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, said the 80 million copies has helped satisfy the demand of not only Chinese Christians but also overseas churches, boosting exchange between Chinese and overseas churches.
“That reflects China’s economic achievements and its reform and opening-up and its freedom of religion,” he said.
Jiang said the Chinese government has given favorable polices to Amity Printing to produce the Bible, including exempting it from various taxes.
“In terms of price for Bibles of the same quality, China-printed ones are one fifth of the cost of other publishers,” he said.
David Thorne, Asia Secretary of the United Bible Societies, expressed his thanks to the Chinese government for its support of Bible publishing. He said it would be impossible for Amity Printing to publish the Bible at such a rate without the Chinese government’s support.
China has over 16 million Christians, 55,000 churches or gathering venues, 36,000 missionaries and 100,000 church volunteers. It also has 18 divinity and Bible schools.