The Amity Printing Company of Nanjing now has the capacity to print one million Bibles a month, and it is printing a special bilingual edition of the holy book so that those attending the Olympic Games will get a copy.
"The new printing plant marks a new milestone for the Bible printing ministry of the Church in China," Qiu Zhonghui, chairperson of the printing company told Ecumenical News International in a recent telephone interview. "We do not only serve the needs of China, we are printing bibles for a number of countries, in many different languages."
Qiu, who is also the general secretary of the Amity Foundation, said that the printing plant would play its part at the August Olympics in Beijing. "We are ready for the Olympics. We are printing 50,000 copies of the Gospels for athletes and visitors." He added that the Olympic edition of the Bible, including the four Gospels, would be in English and Chinese.
Amity held its new printing plant dedication ceremony on May 18, drawing about 300 guests from China and overseas, including the Rev. Miller Milloy, general secretary of the United Bible Societies, and Paul Irwin, president of the American Bible Society.
The Amity Printing Company is the only body allowed to print Bibles in mainland China. It was founded in 1988 with support from the United Bible Societies. Its new premises at Nanjing Dongshanqiao Development Zone, with seven offset printing machines and four web printing machines with a capacity to print a million Bibles a month, make it one of the largest Bible printing presses in the world.
"Amity Printing Company not only meets the needs of Chinese Christians but also prints Bibles in different languages and editions for the use of churches overseas...There is no doubt that this is a great contribution to the Chinese Church and churches around the world. We feel proud and gratified," said Bishop K. H. Ting, president of the Amity Foundation. The 93-year-old bishop attended the ceremony but his address was read out by Qiu.
Milloy hailed the new printing plant, saying, "Let China be the Bible producer for the whole world. The opening of this new factory is surely a step towards that goal."
The Amity Printing Company had 6.75 million Bibles printed in 2007, and another 690,000 copies of the New Testament. The books have been sent to more than 70 countries in 51 different languages since 2007. The 50 millionth Bible printed by Amity rolled off the press in September 2007.
Editor's note: The Amity Foundation has partnered with Episcopal Relief and Development to respond to the devastating May 12 earthquake, distributing rice, plastic sheeting and quilts to 8,000 families in affected areas. The two organizations are also working together on an integrated development project in Zhangfeng Township, a community in southwest China deeply affected by illegal drug trade and AIDS. The project includes HIV prevention education, access to care and treatment for people with HIV/AIDS, and agricultural training and micro-finance opportunities to help families feed themselves and increase their income.