The Chinese government recently indicted a Christian businessman for bringing Bibles into China.
Li Guangqiang, a 38-year old Hong Kong trader, was arrested in July 2001 and indicted in December, after making two separate shipments of some 32,000 Bibles that spring.
His shipments were to an underground Protestant church with some 500,000 members who take a literal approach to the Bible and are named the “Shouters Sect.” They are also “known for the evangelical practice of shouting ‘Jesus is Lord!’ in unison,” according to the Washington Post.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, “The president is deeply concerned about these reports,” according to a Reuters article in the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com).
“Reports of a crackdown on religious practitioners in China are deeply troubling. We call upon China as a member of the international community to meet international standards on the freedom of religious expression and freedom of conscience,” Boucher said, according to scmp.com.
According to Associated Press, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, “No other country should interfere in the independence of China’s judicial system.”
Citing a member of Li’s church, the Washington Post said the Bibles “do not differ significantly in content from those approved by Beijing.”
China was listed as one of the worst violators of religious freedom, according to the U.S. State Department’s third annual report on religious persecution released in late 2001.