China this week announced it is restricting the sale of Bibles from online bookstores as part of a policy it says will protect religious freedom.
A report published by the Australian Broadcasting Company says a paper released by the government, titled China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief, says Chinese religious communities, “should adhere to the direction of localizing the religion, practice the core values of socialism, develop and expand the fine Chinese tradition and actively explore the religious thought which accords with China’s national circumstances.”
Bibles began disappearing from online bookstores as the statement was released.
William Nee, a China researcher at Amnesty International re-tweeted a government notice saying as of March 30, Bibles are banned from sale on Taoboa, Dangdang, the Chinese version of Amazon and others.
UCA News, a catholic publication, reports that the Chinese government white paper on religion is the first issued in over 21 years. It says the ban of on-line sales has been in place, but is now being enforced. Bibles can only be sold in churches licensed to sell them.
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