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I understand there are state-sanctioned churches in China, but that implies that Bibles in China are edited by the CCP.

Would an Anglican Bible be legal, or at least easy, to bring into China?

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    law SE would probably be a better place to ask this sort of question
    – depperm
    Commented Feb 24, 2023 at 15:38
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    The question can be improved to elicit a documented answer for these related concerns: 1) what can be brought in (cursory search shows only up to 3 personal copies can be brought in); 2) official ways to bring in Bible for distribution through "registered" churches; 3) the 10-year project for CCP-approved translation, making the answer a moving target; 4) whether there are restrictions on specific translations, both in Mandarin or in Western languages. Commented Feb 24, 2023 at 16:20
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    this is an informative question...i had no idea that the Chinese government was rewriting a sympathetic paraphrase that grossly misrepresents the real scriptures. i think it too important to move outside of Christianity as those who should know about this may never visit the other forum and find it. perhaps reword question to make it on topic for this forum.
    – Adam
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 3:52
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    This link Bitter Winter .org catalogues efforts by the Chinese Government and the Communist Party to sideline all religion and to propagate a culture of worship of Xi Jinping instead.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 12:19
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    Asking about bringing Bibles when visiting China on Travel Stack Exchange might provide answers with personal experiences. Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 21:54

2 Answers 2

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Q – Is the King James Bible banned in China?

A – It would seem that the King James Bible is not banned - yet.

However, as part of a longstanding effort to limit the influence of Christianity in China, central government authorities last year indicated that they would publish an “official translation” of the Bible for Chinese worshippers. The CCP called for “a comprehensive evaluation of the existing religious classics aiming at contents which do not conform to the progress of the times” in a 2019 meeting held by the Committee for Ethnic and Religious Affairs, which oversees religious matters in China. The meeting concluded that the new “official edition” of the Bible must not contain any content that contradicts socialism, and paragraphs deemed wrong by censors will be amended or retranslated. Source: https://www.voanews.com/a/east-asia-pacific_china-conducts-two-trials-crackdown-audio-bibles/6199571.html

Q – Would an Anglican Bible be legal, or at least easy, to bring into China?

A – January 2023: Bibles are allowed for personal use and up to three copies is a reasonable number. Any extra copies will be confiscated by Customs. Source: https://www.travelchinaguide.com/essential/not-taken.htm

Be aware that the Chinese government is currently rewriting the Bible to align it with Communist principles and values. The new “official edition” of the Bible must not contain any content that contradicts socialism, and paragraphs deemed wrong by censors will be amended or retranslated. Source: https://www.voanews.com/a/east-asia-pacific_china-conducts-two-trials-crackdown-audio-bibles/6199571.html

In a recent Facebook post, VOM shared an example of several verses in John 8 changed according to the Chinese government. As the biblical story goes, Jesus forgives an adulterous woman despite the Pharisees' calls to stone her to death. However, in the CCP's translation, Jesus ends up stoning the woman, admitting he is also a sinner. John 8:7-11, according to the CCP reads: "Jesus once said to the angry crowd who was trying to stone a woman who had sinned, 'He who is without sin among you, let him cast a stone at her.' When his words came to their ears, they stopped moving forward. When everyone went out, Jesus stoned the woman himself, and said, 'I am also a sinner.'"

Nettleton told FaithWire he thought the rewritten passage was trying to diminish Jesus' divinity. He said: "If Jesus is a sinner, then he's not God." "The issue for the Chinese Communist Party is control. It is always about control," Nettleton added. "And they see the … Christian message as something that would take control away from the communist party." Source: https://premierchristian.news/en/news/article/china-is-rewriting-the-bible-with-communist-principles-says-christian-watchdog

With thanks to Grateful Disciple and Nigel J for two the links provided.

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  • +1 Interesting to learn about the rewriting of the Bible. please keep it updated when you heard of anything new.. Do you have the link to "a recent Facebook post"?
    – Tim
    Commented Nov 14, 2023 at 2:37
  • There is a certain irony in this question in that the King James Bible was itself, of course, the product of an official state sponsor.
    – davidlol
    Commented Jun 11 at 8:11
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Bibles are not edited in China. I purchased a bilingual Chinese-English Bible (officially from the TSPM, with the 1984 NIV as the English version), and the text is normal, even with the part with Jesus and the woman that was rumoured to be distorted. None of my friends' Chinese Bibles have the distortion either. I can assure you that the Bibles are normal in China. (Unfortunately, they are not allowed to be sold on Taobao or JD anymore, which I think is a decline in religious freedom, so you will have to call the TSPM and add them on WeChat if you want to purchase a hard copy, and the selection of English translations is limited.) If you want to read any translation you want, Bible Gateway is not blocked in China, and at the time of writing (June 11, 2024) loads pretty quickly without using "scientific browsing", so you can even send links to it to people who don't use "scientific browsing" to go over the firewall.

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  • I purchased in Britain a KJV Bible that had been printed in China. It was a small Collins Gift Edition with a white hardback cover, inserted into a white box. Someone told me they were popular for brides or children to hold to walk down the aisle. I began to read it, shocked to see some pages in wrong order, other chapters missing (either whole or partial chapters), and even some entire books missing! 2nd Corinthians had chapters 4 & 5 following on the back of chapter 7, plus verses 1 to 10 of chapter 6 missing, then verses 11 to the end of chapter 6 following after chapter 8 verse 13. Chapter
    – Anne
    Commented Jun 11 at 13:24
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    8 from verse 14 followed on after chapter 5 verse 10. Now all of that was clearly a collation error, but it should never have escaped notice before binding. 2nd Thessalonians had chapter 3 missing. 1st Timothy and 2nd Timothy letters were both entirely missing. Revelation chapter 21 from halfway through verse 11 and the whole of chapter 22 were entirely missing. Poor printing, but a misprinted Bible is almost as bad as a distorted one.
    – Anne
    Commented Jun 11 at 13:25
  • @Anne, don't worry, most people, especially outside of China, don't read their Bibles, so it's unlikely many of them will ever notice. (In case it's not obvious, that's intended as sort of a joke. Compare with "If you don't believe me, dust off your Bible and read it for yourself!*.) Commented Jun 11 at 15:46
  • @RayButterworth Isn't it appalling, that in an age when the Bible has never been more available, and in so many languages, in digital format too, that it should be the least appreciated? I used to be a proof-reader, which is why I notice misprints and omissions in text, but God looks for those "who tremble at my word" Isa.66:2.
    – Anne
    Commented Jun 11 at 16:36

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