Next month, a celebration will be held in Nanjing, China, to celebrate the printing of the Amity Printing Company (APC)’s 50 millionth Bible, which was printed on Sept. 11.
The United Bible Societies (UBS) and Amity Foundation (AF) will sign an agreement during the Dec. 8 celebration to extend the Joint Venture Agreement between the two of them for another ten years, reports APD (Adventist Press Service) Switzerland.
UBS and AF first began the APC as a joint venture in 1988 and the current agreement is set to expire in June 2008.
Ten years after the Cultural Revolution, Amity Press was established in Nanjing and its first Bible was printed in 1987. Since then over 50 million Bibles have been printed there. Forty-two million of these were distributed in mainland China, while the remaining eight million were exported to over 60 different countries.
"What has happened to the Bible in China is a miracle," said the UBS China Partnership Coordinator, Kua Wee Send, according to APD Switzerland.
"Just over 40 years ago, during the Cultural Revolution, the Bible was banned and all copies were confiscated. But today there are more Bibles than any other book in China — it is unofficially the best-selling book there.
"Only God can make a thing like that happen,” he added, “because God works through the Chinese authorities, through the Church in China, through the Bible Societies and through each and every donor."
China is believed to have one of the fastest growing Christian populations in the world. Officially, there are thought to be around 22 million Christians in China. Unofficially, the number could be as much as four times higher.
Restrictions on religion were loosened in China after the 1970s. Since then Christianity has grown significantly, although the official churches in the country are still subject to government control and regulations.
According to APD Switzerland, a recent survey of 4,500 people conducted by the East China Normal University in Shanghai suggested that 31.4 percent of Chinese people over the age of 16 would consider themselves religious. Of those professing to be religious, around 12 percent were Christian.