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Workers bind copies of the Bible at Amity Printing Co Ltd in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, on Thursday. China has printed more than 100 million copies of the Bible. Li Yao / China Daily
Cooperation between Chinese and overseas churches encouraged
China has become the biggest Bible publisher in the world after printing its 100 millionth copy, according to the country's only authorized Bible-printing company.
At a ceremony held on Thursday in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu province, the 100 millionth copy was unveiled.
Amity Printing Co Ltd Chairman Qiu Zhonghui said the company has printed about 60 million copies of the holy book in China, including editions in nine ethnic-group languages. The company has provided 40 million copies in more than 90 languages to about 70 countries and regions in the world.
Amity Printing is a joint venture between China's Amity Foundation and the United Bible Societies. The company has been publishing the Bible since 1987.
Due to Chinese government policies, Amity Printing benefits from being exempt from various taxes when producing the Bible, Qiu said. There are more than 70 sales outlets nationwide that sell the book.
Guo Wei, spokeswoman for the State Administration for Religious Affairs, said at the ceremony: "The Chinese government respects and protects religious freedom and will continue to support printing and publishing Bibles in China."
China has become the biggest publisher of Bibles worldwide. China encourages further cooperation between Chinese and overseas churches and Christian circles, Guo said.
Leaders of churches and Christian groups from more than 20 countries and regions - including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, South Africa, Tanzania, Egypt, Hong Kong and Taiwan - were also invited to the ceremony. They offered congratulatory speeches, gifts and pledges to deepen cooperation in fundraising, Bible printing and philanthropy.
A roundtable meeting was held on Friday, as Amity Foundation and its ecumenical partners discussed proposals for more social services in underdeveloped areas in China.
Stefan Moebs, deputy consul general of the German Consulate in Shanghai, is a Catholic and attends a church in Shanghai where both a Catholic priest and a Protestant minister from Germany provide services. He said he is pleased to see such ecumenical collaboration take place in China and encouraged the Amity Foundation to continue the good work of philanthropy in rural China.
Qiu, also secretary-general of the foundation, said its printing house reached an annual capacity of 10 million Bibles in 2010, as the company moved to a new site in 2008 with better equipment, streamlined procedures and rigorous quality-control measures.
With more than 70 sales outlets, the company has won trust and more orders from overseas, though its top priority remains meeting the demand of Chinese Christians, Qiu said.
A research and development team is tasked to identify customers' new interests and provide varied designs that appeal to diverse preferences, he said.
The company printed a special edition for the 100 millionth Bible, with a cover made of bamboo that symbolizes the fountain of life cherished in Christian belief that will continue to flourish in China.
Xinhua contributed to this story.
(China Daily 11/10/2012 page4)