Home > Uncategorized > Christian Bookstores In … China!

Christian Bookstores In … China!

The Christian Broadcasting Network carried a most interesting story on Monday about Christian bookstores in China. They exist and there are — wait for it — 250 of them.  Excerpts from the article follow, but it’s a longer report from CBN’s George Thomas. You need to click the title below to read it in full.

Smugglers to Top Sellers: What Kind of Bookstore is This?

BEIJING — There was a time when owning a Bible in China was illegal. For decades, missionaries smuggled tons of Bibles and other Christian literature into China.

But not anymore. In the world’s most populous nation, technically still Communist and officially atheist, comes the story of a mission to reach China’s masses with God’s Word.

“There is still a lot of darkness here that is suppressing the light,” Joseph Cui, a Christian businessman in Beijing, said…

Cui is a pioneer of sorts. In 2004, he opened one of China’s first legally registered Christian bookstores.

“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. Still, missionaries smuggled Bibles and other Christian literature into the country – putting them at great risk.

“Christians used to come to my bookstore in those early days, asking all kinds of questions like, ‘Do you have this book? Do you have that book? Do you have books written by these authors, that author?’ After hearing several ‘No’s’, they would say, ‘What kind of bookstore is this?'”

Government 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.

It also gave birth to a small industry of which Xu Jixing was excited to join.

In 2002, Xu opened the first Christian bookstore in Shanghai called Stairs to Heaven.

“When we opened we only had one book in each section of the shelves,” Xu said. “We had merely one copy of each type of book, altogether 50 books, each on the shelf with a gift product on either side. We would feel so happy when one book was sold out!”

That same year, Chen Xiaoping opened her shop called Jehovah Nissi in the port city of Xiamen.

“We knew bookstores could be a very good platform to reach people, better than many other places because you get to know people’s spiritual needs,” Xiaoping said…

…Since then Christian bookstores have flourished. There are about 250 licensed Christian bookstores operating in China today.

But many, like Wang Xiapei, realized that in order to survive in a rapidly changing technological environment, they had to take some dramatic measures.

“My mother would ask me, ‘You have been losing money since you started the company. What the heck are you doing?'” Wang said. “But I knew I had to do it, despite the financial risks.”

In 2008, Xiapei started the first online Christian bookstore in China. Like the others, starting out wasn’t easy, but Wang persevered…

…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.”

“We are not in this to make money,” an insistent Wang said. “We don’t have a high input-output ratio but this is about an investment into the souls of men.”

Still, he and others say the Christian publishing door is not completely open and 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…

Read the full article at CBN News.

Remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in China with whom we share a common vision and mission.

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