New Bibles are loaded onto a cart at a printing plant in China. (AP)

New Bibles are loaded onto a cart at a printing plant in China. (AP)

A Chinese worker checks uncut pages of Bibles. (AP)

A Chinese worker checks uncut pages of Bibles. (AP)

In Nanjing, China, a worker stitches Bibles. (AP)

In Nanjing, China, a worker stitches Bibles. (AP)

A page of a Bible in Chinese

A page of a Bible in Chinese

As many as 150 million Bibles are printed in China each year. (AP)

As many as 150 million Bibles are printed in China each year. (AP)

Bible Trouble

Posted: September 3, 2019

Was your Bible printed in China? Bibles of all sorts roll off the presses there all the time—and not just a few. Some estimate Chinese printers make as many as 150 million or more each year!

But now U.S. Bible publishers have a problem. People may have to pay new taxes on goods coming from China—including Bibles. That could mean people in the United States will have fewer Bibles available. And the tax will likely make Bibles more expensive. Will that mean some Christian organizations can’t afford to give Bibles away as many Bibles?

Many millions of Bibles are printed in China, but few stay there. Doesn’t that seem strange? Purchasing Bibles in China is strictly controlled.

Controlling Churches

In the 1960s and 70s, the Chinese government tried to get rid of religion. Life was hard for Christians then. Things got better for Christians for a while after that. But Christians in China say the government is treating them worse and worse—more like it used to.

This time, officials don’t want to get rid of Christianity. But they do want to control it. They want to make sure churches will do what the government wants. Local leaders have shut down hundreds of house churches. They have taken crosses out of church buildings. They have hung Chinese flags instead. Churchgoers have to sing patriotic songs in government-approved churches. And in some places, children are not allowed to go to church at all. Officials even plan to edit or add notes to the Bible so it better matches their socialist beliefs. Bibles used to be available to Chinese Christians online. Now they are not.

Huang Xiaoning pastors Guangzhou Bible Reformed Church in China. Officials have closed his church twice. “The Chinese Communist party (CCP) wants to be the God of China and the Chinese people,” he tells The Guardian. “But according to the Bible, only God is God.”