Smuggling Bibles - China
Smuggling Bibles into China takes many forms, from an extra Bible in a handbag to a million Bibles in Project Pearl.
More typically, however, smuggling Bibles into China involves Christians posing as tourists. In a typical Bible smuggling trip, volunteers fly to a city that borders China and spend a few days to months smuggling Bibles repeatedly across the border in suitcases and backpacks (right).
• There is no penalty for Westerners caught smuggling Bibles, and for a small fine, the confiscated Bibles can be retrieved on their way out of China.
• Bible smuggling is a faith-edifying experience for most Western Christians, who also have the opportunities to witness to the border guards when caught.
• The Bibles being smuggled cost at least $2.50 to $3.00 each. Allocate the cost of the airfare, lodging, food, transportation to and from the border, transportation on the other side of the border, fines to retrieve the confiscated Bibles, and the cost per Bible rises to $6-8. Allocate as well the overhead for the Bible smuggling organization's warehouses, personnel, their lodging, food, and other costs, and it rises even higher.
• Compared to the other options now available, smuggling Bibles is an expensive way to deliver the Word of God to the underground Christians in China.
• Chinese Christians risk greater persecution when caught with smuggled Bibles than when caught with identical Bibles printed by Amity printing.
Does this mean Bible smuggling organizations should close?
No, but they should aim their operations at countries like North Korea that are as closed to the Word of God today as China was 30 years ago and where Bible smuggling is needed far more than to China.
If China begins to restrict Amity’s printing volume or reverts to requiring traceable “registration” to buy Amity Bibles, Bible smuggling operations can be re-aimed at China with full force.
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