Image credit: Michael Righi.
China has an uneasy relationship with religion. Officially atheist, the state nevertheless officially sanctions (a few) approved religious groups, while suppressing those who don’t play ball, and tries to regulate Buddhist reincarnation.
According to the Pew Research Centre, Christians in China make up some 5 percent of the population, or around 67 million people. Those Christians need bibles, and as the Economist reports, there are plenty of bibles to go around:
To meet their spiritual needs, a joint venture called Amity Printing was founded in 1988 between Amity Foundation, an NGO linked to the China Christian Council (CCC), a government body, and the United Bible Societies (UBS), a British-based group dedicated to providing access to Christian literature.
In its first year, using a single printing press donated by UBS, Amity produced 500,000 bibles. In 2012 it printed more than 12m bibles and New Testaments. This makes Amity one of the largest printers of bibles in the world; quite an accomplishment in a country where, not long ago, people died for their faith.
Amity is based in Nanjing, and employs 600 people. The company prints around 18 million bibles a year in over 90 languages. In true state owned enterprise fashion, Amity has a monopoly on printing bibles in China.