China recently banned online retailers from selling the Bible. Rumors from overseas said that the country forbade the sale of Bible and edit the Bible. Despite the Bible still being available in church bookstores, some WeChat platforms deliberately interpreted the move as a ban on the circulation of the Bible and all the Christian books.
It is generally believed that the long-term sale of non-public publications on Jingdong, a Chinese e-commerce giant, is the root cause of the incident. Moreover, Jingdong's response to the issue confirms the inference.
Apart from Christians, the outside world regards the crackdown simply as a regulation of illegally published books, not a so-called "religious persecution".
Internet searches for the Bible show no result on Jingdong that blocks the keyword and the same goes for other leading shopping websites and mobile sites. The legal Bible translations and books relevant to the word "Bible" were pulled off the shelves on Jingdong, but legal books related to the keyword "Christianity" are still on sale. Most Christian publications are being sold on online bookstores, whether they are commentaries, biographies, histories, theology, or ethics. The move targets internal publications, illegally published publications, and banned books.
It is groundless to say that the sale and circulation of the Bible and Christian books are completely banned. On the other hand, some Bible editions released by social publishers are still on sale, for instance, the Bible translations by Louis de Poirot and Feng Xiang, respectively. Although those translations are somewhat different from the Revised Chinese Union Version and the Studium Biblicum Version, the predominant versions used by Chinese Protestant and Catholic churches, they are still valuable Chinese Bible translations.
As the world's largest Bible printer, the Amity Printing Company has produced over 170 million Bible copies in more than 100 languages and exported them to over 100 countries. It has printed about 80 million Bibles for the Chinese church, including in 11 ethnic minority scripts and Braille.
- Translated by Karen Luo