China will open the largest Bible production factory in the world early next year, according The Times.
Amity Printing, China’s only authorised Christian publisher, plans to open the new plant on the edge of the eastern city of Nanjing to meet the country’s heavy demands for Bibles.
The new factory will be the world’s single-biggest producer of Bibles with the capacity to print 1 million Bibles a month – increasing the current output by a third.
“This platform has been built as a blessing to the nation,” said New Zealander Peter Dean of the United Bible Societies, according to The Times. The United Bible Societies, a Protestant organisation, works with Chinese Christian charities to print Bibles under Amity Printing.
“It will print Bibles for China for as long as it takes to do it,” added Dean, who has been at Amity in China since 1991.
Last year, Amity printed 3.5 million Bibles and expects the number to rise for 2007. In total, China’s Amity Printing has produced over 50 million Bibles since 1986.
Demand for Bibles is increasing in officially-atheist China and some contend the high demand is tied to the country’s recent economic boom.
“Rising wealth means that more and more people have been able to meet their material needs, the need for food and clothing,” said Li Baiguang, a prominent human rights lawyer and Christian activist.
Li was one of three Chinese house church leaders who were invited for the first time to the White House and met President George W Bush last year.