China’s Hot Seller: the Bible

It sells by the millions, but isn't allowed in bookstores
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2007 9:02 PM CST
Chinese worshippers read Christian literature inside a Chinese Patriotic Church in Beijing in this April 2007 file photo. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – It's not in China's bookstores, but the Bible remains one of the country's bestselling books, the Times of London reports. Today China's one authorized Bible publisher, Amity Printing, proved it by producing its 50th millionth copy. Yet Bibles remain a hot issue in China, for police sometimes arrest Bible smugglers, and the Olympics website warns visitors to bring "no more than one Bible into China.”

Still, Bibles are far more accepted today than 30 or 40 years ago, when they were burned for spreading superstition during the Cultural Revolution. One lawyer says the change comes down to economics. “Rising wealth means that more and more people have been able to meet their material needs," said Li Baiguang, a Christian activist. “Then they are finding that they need to satisfy their spiritual needs."