China Bibles: From Banned to Bargain

Jerusalem Channel founders Peter and Christine Darg behind the Bamboo Curtain in China in 1977

By Christine Darg,

Jerusalem Channel

Exactly 40 years ago in 1977 my husband Peter and I were some of the first western tourists allowed into the mainland of Communist China.

We took the opportunity to purchase a supply of Chinese language Bibles in what was at the time the British colony of Hong Kong and we were able to smuggle them into China.

Now, a generation later, I’m walking into Walmart in need of a new travel Bible.

I find a compact Bible discounted at the bargain price of $14.99 plus tax– a “luxury” black leather-bound version of the King James Bible neatly enclosed with a zipper –perfect for travel in my hand-carry.  I wonder why it’s so inexpensive. Inside the front cover I find the answer–“Printed in China!”

Under Chairman Mao, Communists in the 1970s had ordered that every household in China should have a long-distance short wave radio so that Peking could indoctrinate the population with propaganda. What Mao didn’t anticipate was that Christian stations could also beam the Gospel into his entire country.

Peter was associated with a ministry in California called High Adventure. They built a powerful short wave transmitter on the Pacific island of Palau which was ideally suited to broadcast into Asia. So at a time when the one billion Chinese could not read the Bible, they could hear it read through their radios.

Today, the printing presses of China are exporting the Word of God back to us!

The world’s biggest official atheist nation is the largest producer of the Good Book.

Chairman Mao might have said, “Our God is none other than the masses of the Chinese people,” but here at China’s state-sanctioned Bible printer, little time is wasted pondering the contradictions of a metaphysical mismatch. (~LA Times)