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ICC Note: China began banning the sales of Bible online during Easter weekend. Internet users can no longer purchase Bible at e-commerce sites and have to go to state-sanctioned churches for the Scripture. Ironically, Beijing just released its first white paper on religious freedom claiming to support such liberty.  

04/04/2018 China (UCA) – On Holy Saturday, China’s communist government, deep in talks with the Vatican on a deal to appoint bishops, issued a ban on internet sales of the Bible. Four days later, it issued its first white paper on religious freedom in 21 years, only a week after hauling Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin of Mindong away from his diocese for a few days during Holy Week.

A notice issued on Twitter-like Chinese site Weibo banned online bookstores, such as Tabao and Dangdang, China’s equivalents of Amazon, from selling Bibles.

People searching for Bibles on these sites were greeted with the message: “Sorry! No products in this category available.”

One observer noted that there is a long-standing rule that the Bible cannot be sold publicly or on the internet in China but that oversight of this rule has been allowed to slide over the years.

“It can only be sold in churches that the government permits — it looks like the government has started to take the matter seriously,” the observer noted.

William Nee, a researcher for Amnesty International, told that the Chinese government should immediately reverse its ban on the sale of Bibles and ensure that all Christians and people of other religions can exercise their faith without government interference or intimidation.

“For a government that just yesterday claimed to be supporting religious freedom, it is ridiculous that the core book of a major world religion — the Bible — cannot be found on the major Chinese e-commerce platforms,” he said.

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