A persecution watchdog says that some Christian groups are having trouble getting new Bibles printed as printing companies fear running afoul of new religious laws in China.
International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that a Catholic order of Fransiscans who run the biblical research institute Studium Biblicum Franciscanum (SBF) in Hong Kong printing houses fear that printing Bibles without government approval could lead to trouble with authorities. Other printing companies claim they are simply disinterested due to low sale numbers.
All previously printed copies of the SBF's Bible have already been sold to bookstores, leaving the Fransiscans scrambling to find a new printing company before they run out of copies. According to a member of SBF, Friar Yeung, Hong Kong printing houses lack the staple binding technology used to make Bibles in mainland China, thereby rendering it more difficult to find a printing company.
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The communist government has continued to restrict religions in China. That includes a new law earlier this year declaring that Christians and other religious groups must first register with the government and obtain permission before posting materials online.
Kurt Rovenstine with Bibles for China says, “Everything [that is posted] has to fit within the social harmony, the progress of society. These things are pretty typical within the communist regime. It especially restricts the house churches.”
The CCP has also been working on its own translation of the Bible. In February it was leaked that John 8 in the government version tells a story of Jesus stoning a woman to death Himself rather than saving her.
ICC reports that despite the troubles between SBF and its printing house, other Christian groups remain unaffected at this point. The Revered Liao Jinyuan, the Hong Kong director general of the Protestant group, Worldwide Bible Society, reported that printing houses are still operating in Hong Kong and South Korea.