There was a time when owning a Bible in China was illegal. “There is still a lot of darkness here that is suppressing the light,” Joseph Cui, a Christian businessman in Beijing, said. (But) “We have seen God open the doors and He wants us to be a light.” Cui is a pioneer of sorts. Since 2002, he has opened several Christian bookstores in China.
“Life was very difficult when we first started. The bookstore was practically sustained and developed with the economic help of many secret brothers and sisters in the Lord,” he said. Cui said Christian books were scarce and anyone caught with a Bible went to prison.” Attitudes began to shift about 15 years ago when authorities noticed how many Chinese people were turning to Christ. This led to fewer restrictions on publishing companies.
Yue Geng also sensed a spiritual opening. He started small, in the basement of his house, and then in 2002, opened what is officially the first Christian bookstore in Beijing called Stream Bookstore. “We got the name from Psalm 1 which says, ‘If a tree is planted by the water, its leaf does not wither,’” Geng told CBN News. “Our bookstore is like a tree, which can only grow with God’s watering and care. We invest little, but our spiritual returns are many!”
Since then Christian bookstores have flourished. There are about 250 licensed Christian bookstores operating in China today. In 2008, Wang Xiapei started the first online Christian bookstore
in China. Like the others, starting out wasn’t easy, but Wang persevered. “I prayed about it for eight months. The more I prayed, the more I was sure of God’s guidance. I knew the Church
and the gospel in China were rapidly changing, so it was the right time for promoting the ministry of the Word,” Wang said.
Christian bookstores have now become a place of active evangelism and outreach.” In bookstores you get to know all kinds of people from different places,” Xiaoping said. “You can help people connect with each other, make new friends and bless each other.” Still, significant challenges remain. Two years ago, Chinese authorities dealt a huge blow to Christian bookstore owners by severely restricting the number of Christian titles that could be published each year. It dropped from 200 titles a few years ago to 80 last year. As of this year, the government has only issued 20 titles. “The government is worried that giving us more publishing titles could greatly increase the number of Christians and could somehow impact social stability of our country,” Wang said. “However, I think the authorities know that the growth of Christianity actually makes our society better and eventually they will change their attitudes.” “God will continue to hold us up by His grace and hold us until we complete the great vision,” Cui said.
Source: CBN News
Bible Study: Psalm 1
PRAISE God for these places from where the Bible and Christian literature are distributed.
PRAY that the government restrictions may ease and the Church in China be Light to the nation.