Thursday, November 10, 2005

Chinese sent to prison for distributing Bibles.

3 Chinese citizens sent to prison for distributing Bibles as part of "unregistered" church.

Here's the story at the Washington Times:
or click here.

        Religious persecution in China has reached the point that distributing Bibles is earning a three-year prison sentence.
        Cai Zhuohua, 34, a Beijing underground church leader, was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison for distributing Bibles and other Christian materials.
        His wife, Xiao Yunfei, got two years, and her brother Xiao Gaowen was sentenced to 18 months by the Haidian Lower People's Court in Beijing.
        They were arrested September 2004, said the China Aid Association of Midland, Texas. They were accused of distributing 200,000 Bibles and other materials as part of an unregistered house church Mr. Cai oversaw for 10 years.
        It is the latest in a long string of escalating arrests and harassment Chinese Christians have undergone in recent years.
        "This is not an acceptable result," said China Aid President Bob Fu. "We urge President Bush to use his upcoming visit to China to address this serious religious-persecution case."
        Mr. Bush will meet with leaders in Beijing during a Nov. 19-21 visit.
        "You bet when the president goes to Asia next week, he will continue to talk about the importance of promoting human rights and human dignity for all," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said yesterday.
        In a round-table interview yesterday with Asian journalists, Mr. Bush said he "will continue to remind President Hu [Jintao] about, for example, my personal faith and the belief that people should be allowed to worship freely.
        "A vibrant, whole society is one that recognizes that certain freedoms are inherent and need to be part of a complete society," Mr. Bush said of the message he would give China's communist leaders.
        Mr. Bush meets today with the Dalai Lama. The 70-year-old Tibetan religious leader, in town for several conferences about meditation and neuroscience, slammed his native country at a press conference yesterday for "very, very repressive" policies.
        Other religious groups claim persecution similar to that suffered by the Tibetan Buddhists represented by the Dalai Lama.

My comments:
        The article goes on to describe persecution of Falun Gong, Christians, and Tibetan Buddhists.

        However, there are apparently some important things left unsaid. I've learned through other sources that Bibles are legally available in China, in two versions; the Union Version (probably the first translation of the Bible in Chinese, which dates back to Christian missionaries going to China before Communism), and the TCV or Today's Chinese Version.

        The Chinese Union Version is said to be equivalent to the English RSV (Revised Standard Version). And the TCV (Today's Chinese Version) is an easier to read translation that is equivalent to the TEV (Today's English Version).

        An explanation of the various Chinese translations and editions can be found on under ISBN 9622934579, or click here. That reviewer indicates that the Union version is freely available in PRC (mainland) China, and is preferred by most Christians there.

        So I am confused as to what the real story is of those who were imprisoned for "illegally" distributing Bibles. Since Bibles are available there, and it is apparently legal to distribute them, it then appears the violation was that of not being registered or licensed to do so. Was it also because their church was "unregistered"? What are the pros and cons for churches being "registered" there? I'm not trying to justify the Chinese government in these questions. Rather, the article raises more questions than it answers.


At 11/11/2005 04:34:00 AM, Blogger AlexG said...

Maybe that is the reason why the Church is not in China yet. Would you imagine spending your two years of your mission on a prision for distributing the Book of Mormon? On the other hand, I do not know if, paraphrasing Spencer W. Kimball, the Church is ready to enter China and preach the gospel there. The Church is gearing to do that, though. We have missionaries that are serving a Mandaring speaking mission in the UK. With the converts that leave from the UK (mainly students) when the Church gets its approval to enter China, I hope that it will be a stronger country. The converts are beautiful, much like the the natural branches of the olive trees spoken in Jacob 5.


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