Hotels in Beijing should
provide Bibles for foreign visitors during the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games, a
Chinese political adviser said.
"The majority of the foreign visitors expected during the 2008 Games have
religious beliefs, and we should cater to their needs," said Liu Bainian, a
member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative
Liu, vice-president of the China Patriotic Catholic Association, said on
Thursday the service could also help clear up foreigners' misunderstandings
about China in terms of religion.
He added that the Bible is a must at hotel rooms in foreign countries,
especially in Europe.
Beijing is expected to receive about 500,000 to 550,000 overseas visitors
during the 29th Summer Olympiad, which opens on August 8, 2008 and will run
until August 24.
Liu said authorities should encourage local Christians to donate Bibles for
temporary use during the Games, after which they would be returned.
"The China Patriotic Catholic Association could also help collect Bibles," he
Zhang Liwei, vice-secretary of the Christian Amity Foundation, which operates
the country's sole Bible printing house, told China Daily that his foundation
would try its best to meet demand.
According to Zhang, the Bible is published in Chinese and English in China,
as well as in eight ethnic minority languages including Miao and Korean.
At least 40 million copies of the Bible have been distributed across the
Chinese mainland since 1980, said Cao Shengjie, president of the China Christian
Council. Around 2.5 million copies of the Bible have been published in China
annually over the past decade, said Cao.
The Bible first arrived in China 1,500 years ago, while the first
Chinese-language edition appeared in the early 19th century.
The Protestant church on the Chinese mainland is one of the fastest growing
in the world today, with the number of Christians having reached more than 16
million and still growing fast.
The country also has more than 5 million Catholics.
The Chinese capital currently has over 700 star-rated hotels and the number
is expected to reach 800, with 130,000 rooms, before the Olympics, tourism
Besides star-rated hotels, Beijing has more than 4,000 non-rated ones that
can be upgraded.
Xinhua contributed to the story
(China Daily 03/10/2007 page1)