NEW YORK — A door apparently has edged open to allow Western Christians to assist religious life in China--through production of Bibles. But oversight of the project is to remain entirely in Chinese hands.
The American Bible Society said a newly formed Chinese Christian agency, Amity Foundation, and United Bible Societies had "come to an understanding which is hoped to lead to establishment of a modern printing facility" in China.
The plant would be "under ownership and control of the foundation" and used primarily in the production of Bibles, Testaments and other Christian publications," presumably with aid from worldwide Bible societies.
Chinese churches, increasingly active in recent years, previously have shunned foreign involvement in religious life because of past asserted Western domination.
United Bible Societies have branches in 100 countries, including the American Bible Society. It said the Chinese agreement was worked out in talks in Hong Kong and Nanjing, with steps for implementing and operating the proposed printing plant being developed.