This week's top picks...
Why Your Bible Was Made in China (October 23, 2014, Christianity Today)
Christianity Today has an interesting article about China's emergence as one of the main sources of printed Bibles.
Chances are good that your favorite Bible was printed in China. The overwhelming majority of Bibles sold at Christian bookstores or Barnes & Noble were printed there, said Mark Bertrand of Bible Design Blog. And more publishers are joining in.
After highlighting why some are concerned about this, the author delves into the reasons so many Bibles are printed in China:
Since China's only legal printer of Bibles, Amity Printing Company, published its first Bible in cooperation with the United Bible Societies (UBS) in 1987, 117 million Bibles have followed. More than half of those were printed in the last six years, including 12.4 million in 2013, making China the world's biggest Bible publisher. Three out of four of last year's Bibles were produced for export.
"The simple reason is that China is a manufacturing powerhouse in world trade," said Amity board member David Thorne. "The more complex and interesting answer is that it is the outcome of God's hand on the mission of the church."
Choosing a printer comes down to "quality and competitive price," said Tim Bensen, a buyer at Tyndale House Publishers. "We print all over the world," he said. "Amity does good work."
Printing Bibles is more difficult than printing other types of books, and requires a certain amount of expertise, he said.
In other words, it's economics.
Detained Canadians subjected to intense questioning, refused legal counsel by Chinese authorities (October 24, 2014, Globe and Mail)
The Globe and Mail reports on the plight of a Canadian couple who was detained several months ago on suspicion of stealing military secrets:
Chinese authorities have subjected two detained Canadians to intensive questioning while refusing their access to legal counsel, raising fears about what the couple might be pressured into admitting. Kevin and Julia Garratt have now been held by China's State Security Bureau for 81 days, under suspicion of stealing military and defence research secrets. They have been held separately and under heavy guard in a government-run hotel, where they have endured interrogation sessions that have lasted up to six hours a day.
They have not been formally arrested, and Chinese authorities have denied a series of requests for legal counsel to speak with them.
Now, a lawyer hired by their family is raising alarms that their situation could place them in legal danger.
Their conditions "are nothing short of demeaning and withdrawn from meaningful human contact. Under such circumstances, any human being under the pressure of isolation could easily incriminate themselves," said James Zimmerman, the Beijing-based managing partner of law firm Sheppard Mullin Ritchter & Hampton LLP.
Chinese law would normally dictate the couple have prompt access to lawyers, but China has claimed it has no such obligation while it conducts a state secrets investigation.
This article is a good reminder that we need to be praying for this couple.
China to tighten laws to combat illegal cults (October 28, 2014, Reuters)
In the wake of the sentencing of cult members for murder, the government is steps to make cult activities subject to stricter penalties:
China will tighten the law to impose harsher punishments on people participating in illegal cults, a state-run newspaper said on Tuesday, after a brutal murder earlier in the year.
An amendment to the law will mandate prison terms of up to seven years for those who organize or make use of a religious institution or cult to spread "superstitions to undermine national laws or regulations", the official China Daily said.
The death penalty will be imposed for crimes which cause death or serious injuries, it added.
China currently has no specific laws relating to cults, the newspaper said.
It will be interesting to see if/how this may affect house churches in China.
Photo Credit: Christian Today