Monday, August 18, 2008

China confiscates Bibles from American Christians


I have been railing for weeks about the persecution of Christians in China, now this story from the Associated Press:

BEIJING - Chinese customs officials confiscated more than 300 Bibles on Sunday from four American Christians who arrived in a southwestern city with plans to distribute them, the group's leader said.

The Bibles were taken from the group's checked luggage after they landed at the airport in the city of Kunming, said Pat Klein, head of Vision Beyond Borders. The group, based in Sheridan, Wyoming, distributes Bibles and Christian teaching materials around the world to "strengthen the persecuted church," according to its Web site.

The group arrived in China on Sunday and had intended to distribute the Bibles to people in the city, Klein told the AP in a telephone interview while still at the airport.
"I heard that there's freedom of religion in China, so why is there a problem for us to bring Bibles?" Klein said. "We had over 300 copies and customs took all of them from us."

The move comes as China hosts the Olympics in Beijing, where false media reports last year claimed Bibles would be banned from the games. The state-run China Daily reported last month that 10,000 bilingual copies of the Bible would be distributed in the Olympic Village, which houses athletes and media.

Bibles are printed under the supervision of the Communist government. The officially atheistic country only allows them to be used in government-sanctioned churches and in some big hotels catering to foreigners.

A woman who was on duty at Kunming airport's customs office confirmed over the telephone that 315 Bibles were found in the passengers' checked baggage.

The officer, who would only give her last name, Xiao, denied confiscating the Bibles. She said authorities were just "taking care" of them and provided no further details. She later said she was not authorized to speak to the media and referred questions to the national customs headquarters in Beijing, which did not answer phones on Sunday.
"We're not selling them; we give them free to the people," Klein said. "We didn't come to cause trouble, we just came to bring Bibles to help out the Chinese Christians."

The Bibles were printed in Chinese, he said.
Klein said the customs officers had told him that they could each have one Bible for personal use and not more than that. He said the officers had videotaped them and were insisting that they leave the airport.

"We don't want to go without taking those books. It cost us a lot of money to bring them here," Klein said. "They're saying that it's illegal to bring the Bibles in and that if we wanted to, we had to apply ahead of time for permission."

China faces routine criticism for its human rights violations and its repression of religious freedom. Religious practice is heavily regulated by the Communist Party, with worship allowed only in party-controlled churches, temples and mosques, while those gathering outside face harassment, arrest and terms in labor camps or prison.

A Chinese Christian activist was detained Aug. 10, the opening weekend of the Olympics, on his way to a church service attended by President Bush in Beijing. A rights group said later that the activist, Hua Huiqi, a leader of the unofficial Protestant church in Beijing, had escaped from police and was in hiding.

Police have denied any involvement in Hua's disappearance.

Still want to support the Olympics, Christians????


Tammy Bowers said...

What's going on over there is horrible. China needs prayer and missionaries, UN & USA pressure more now than ever before.! The goal of the Olympics shedding light on China’s problems in order to apply pressure for change, doesn't seem to be working. However, that doesn't mean I can't support American athletes. I can still cheer for America, Canada, Mexico and Australia. I cheer for Brazil when NBC tells me a contestant is in the top 8 and Brazil has never medal’d in that sport at the Olympics before. I cheer for the 38-year-old runner, 41 year-old swimmer, or like last night, the 33-year-old woman who won a medal in the vault. Amazing. However, watching those events on NBC does not condone or support in any way what the Chinese government does to Christians. I disagree with that implication, Bill!

Bill's Waste of Air said...

Imagine if you will that NO ONE watched this Olympics?
NO ONE bought one product advertised on this Olympics?
You don't think that would make a difference to the Chinese goverment?
Just once I wish we would really MAKE A STAND.
I kindly disagree, Tammy. We, and I say "we" as I have watched my share this year, may not condone or support what the Chi-Com's do, but we CAN make a difference by switching to something else, and if that doesn't really make a difference, it at least makes me feel better.
Of course I support American athletes, of course I love the stories, and absolutely I had hoped that with all of the American media there we could have shined a bright light on that horrid place, but it is not happening and Bob Costas is painting the rosy picture he always does.
That's his job and he does it well, but where is the Outrage of Keith Olbermann, or Chris Matthews or the other talking heads on NBC?
They are all basking in the glow of record ratings! Tragic.
If they had any guts whatsoever, they would NOT abide by the USOC or Chi-Com rules and they would be sneaking reporters EVERYWHERE telling stories of the abuse of the Chinese. But no, they only do that when the EVIL AMERICANS are involved. They are too busy busting our Country's chops over Iraq, Afghanistan or whatever they can find to bring this country down.

Tammy Bowers said...

I agree with part of your position, Bill, and have no problem with your disagreement of my position. It's the other implication that I find offensive. Although I shouldn't because I know you word things purposefully to stir people up. So smile and bask in your success.

Bill's Waste of Air said...

Stirring is not the issue this time, if the wording is not right, show me where.
Take a look at the new picture.
Why doesn't good ol' bob and NBC show us that picture?
"The World Is Watching".

Anonymous said...

I find it perfectly within the right of the Chinese government to regulate religion. Who are we to tell them what to do? I would be more worried about the trade imbalance and the fact that they have one monetary system intentionally de-valued tied to the American dollar meaning that if they chose to raise the value of their Yuan, our economy would be in more trouble than its current state.

Either way, it's not just Christians being persecuted and I believe in what Marx said that the Chinese follow..."religion is the opiate of the masses".

And I agree with you that watching the Olympics absolutely shows that we condone and support what the Chinese are up to. Dollars will always matter more than anything.