Bibles in High Demand in China and India

Friday, September 8, 2006

Millions of Bibles Needed in Most Populous Countries

By Wolfgang Polzer
Special to ASSIST News Service

STUTTGART (ANS) -- The demand for Bibles is rising in China and India, the most populous countries of the world.

Although Christians are only a small minority, millions of Bibles are not sufficient to supply the need, according to the magazine Bibel Report published by the German Bible Society in Stuttgart.

The People’s Republic of China has an official Bible printing house. Since 1987 the press in Nanjing has turned out more the 46 million copies of the Bible and the New Testament.

Official Bible distribution figures in China have reached 2.5 million copies per year. Bibles smuggled into the country and underground printing is not included in this figure.

A new and bigger printing press is currently installed in Nanjing. It will boost the turnout to ten million Bibles per year.

The number of Christians among the 1.3 billion inhabitants in China is believed to exceed 80 million. Three in four Christians worship in unregistered churches not controlled by the Communist authorities.

India has 1.1 billion inhabitants. Roughly 80 percent are Hindus, 12.5 percent Muslims and 2.4 percent Christians.

A large number of Indians especially in rural areas are still suffering from the deeply ingrained caste system, according to Bibel Report. Approximately 160 million Dalits (Untouchables) are suffering severe discrimination.

The same is true of the indigenous Adivasi people, who make up eight percent of India’s population. Large numbers of Dalits and Adivasi are turning to the Christian faith, according to the German Bible Society.

Most of them are too poor to afford a Bible, a New Testament or even a Gospel tract. The Indian Bible Society is striving to provide more audio Bibles for these Christians.