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China halts shipment of Bibles from Vision Beyond Borders, a U.S. Christian group

ICC Note:

While China boasts of its printing 800,000 Bibles a month, Chinese Christians who do not worship in state controlled churches cannot seem to get their hands on any. When Vision Beyond Borders attempted to deliver Bibles to these Christians this week, they were detained at the airport by Chinese officials who are refusing to return the Bibles to the group.

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8/18/08 China (LosAngelesTimes) An American Christian group that was stopped at the airport when it tried to bring in more than 300 Bibles won’t leave the customs zone until it gets the books back, its leader said today.
The four Americans, led by Pat Klein of the Wyoming-based Vision Beyond Borders, said they were convinced officials wanted them to leave the Kunming airport in southern China without the Bibles, preventing their distribution.


China is hosting the Olympics through Aug. 24, which has intensified the global spotlight on the country’s suppression of religious freedom and violation of human rights. The Chinese say they have printed 50 million Bibles in the last 32 years and are producing 800,000 a month for domestic consumption, but Klein said his Christian contacts can’t get their hands on Bibles — hence his trip.

Klein said he asked authorities to show him the law in English against bringing in Bibles, only to be brought a vaguely worded postal regulation prohibiting material harmful to China.

The four said they slept on couches in the customs zone Sunday night, but the lights were on all night and officials kept coming in to question and videotape them and urge them to leave their work space. Chinese authorities told group members they could each keep one Bible for personal use. One of their members was permitted this morning to go buy some food.
The Chinese Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. In reality, worship is heavily regulated by a regime wary of political challenge. People who worship outside official institutions face harassment, arrest and years in labor camps.

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