"A booming Bible industry is on its way to turning the world's biggest atheist nation into the world's largest producer of the Good Book," the Los Angeles Times reported on China's Bible printing business on June 22.
The western media are always interested in this market, but their misunderstanding about it is also long standing. Many of them considered that Bibles are unavailable in China. Some foreigners even believe that China will forbid the import of Bibles during the Olympic Games.
If Ye Xiaowen, director of the National Religious Affairs Bureau, had not announced at the end of last year that China's religious groups would provide adequate copies of the Bible for visiting athletes and tourists, many foreigners would still be unaware that there is an authorized Bible printing company in China.
This mysterious company is Amity Printing Co. Ltd, according to an International Herald Leader report on June 30.
Founded in 1988, Amity has printed more than 50 million Bibles, of which 41 million are Chinese and eight ethnic minority language versions. The remaining 9 million are mainly exported to Africa and Russia.
Amity produces a number of different editions, including a Chinese-English version, a Braille version, a children's version, etc. Liu Lei, vice general manager of Amity, explains that they employ a blind man to exam the quality of the Braille edition. It takes 32 Braille volumes to cover the whole of the Bible's contents. The production process is so complex that only two volumes per day can be produced.
According to Liu, domestic demand for Bibles has been stable in recent years, and shows no tendency to slow down.