In the world's most populous country, the only official bible printing group in China- Amity Printing Press- is expanded in a bid to increase the annual output of Bibles.
On Nov. 8, Bishop K. H. Ting, former president of the China Christian Council, and around 180 participants, that included representatives from the Chinese church, the religious affairs bureaus and the United Bible Societies attended a ceremony that highlighted the move of the Amity Printing Press to a larger location, that coincided with the Amity Foundation's 20th anniversary.
Bishop Ting said at the ceremony, "My hope is that one day every person in China will hold a Bible of their own in their hands," the United Bible Society reported him as saying.
The local government, according to UBS, decided to re-zone the current site of the Amity Press as a residential area. With the compensation offered, they were able to acquire new land and construct new facilities that will house the latest printing equipment.
The new location at Nanjing's Jiangling industrial zone will allow Amity Press to increase its output of Bibles to 1 million copies a month. In the 2004 annual report released by UBS, Amity was only able to print a record number of 5.4 million copies, which was considered the highest amount of Bibles and New testaments ever printed.
The report said, "the demand for Bibles continues to rise in Mainland china," and as a result there has been a significant increase over the years.
"The continuing growth of the Church in China accounts for this increase in Bible distribution," Kua Wee-seng, China Partnership Coordinator for UBS said. "The Bible is…unofficially the best-selling book in China!"
Factors that have contributed to the growth include the deployment of Bible distribution vans throughout China, bible ministry exhibitions hosted by the state-sanctioned China Christian Council and the Three Self Patriotic Movement, supporters from outside of China, and an increasing number of young people and non-Christians who are purchasing the Bible in order to "learn about the Christian faith."
"We thank God for the continued opportunities to provide the word of God, through partnership with the Church in China, to the millions of Christians and people in Mainland China. We also thank the many supporters of the Bible Societies for their support and prayer in reaching the most populous nation with the Word of God," Kua ended the report saying.
The Amity Press is the only printing company that is allowed to print Bibles in China. It was formed by the Amity Foundation and the United Bible Society in 1987. Since then it has produced some 46 million Bibles and New Testaments. UBS, who is jointly working with Amity Press and the Amity Foundation, is expecting that the number will rise significantly in light of the new factory.