China Archives

The Most Bibles

Which country produces the most Bibles? I thought this would be a simple question; the United States, the most capitalist country around. Lots of people, and a jillion different translations, paraphrases and parallel versions would make for a big market.

Not so. This may surprise you, until you think about it a bit.

When one thinks of China, Christianity and the Bible are likely two of the furthest things that come to mind. “Communism,” “forced abortions,” one-child policy” and other terms are, more generally, what’s the nation is known for. But now, a shocking new development has come to the forefront: China, a country that makes many products consumed in the U.S. and abroad, is now also the world’s largest Bible producer.

Amity Printing Company is the only outfit in China that is permitted to produce Christian Bibles. While the Chinese government doesn’t have the most stellar record when it comes to religious freedom, Amity Printing has been fast at work, with the company’s chairman, Qiu Zhonghui, announcing that the business published its 100 millionth Bible in July.

According to a report by Christian Today [Ed.: not "Christianity Today"], the Amity has printed 60 million Bibles, including nine ethnic minority editions in various languages. Additionally, 40 million copies were printed in more than 90 languages and sent to about 70 nations and regions across the globe.

Not bad for a printing company founded in 1988.

    …as opposed to the many other criteria unrelated to peace that were used in the past.  Liu Xiaobo is in prison for "subversion" for trying to free the people of China from the Communists, and this is a well-deserved honor, if rather late in coming.

    And why is Liu Xiaobo being given an award also given to Yassar Arafat, Al Gore and Barack Obama?  Why this very uneven standard of the pursuit of peace?  Claudia Rosett has some thoughts.

      Shire Network News #175: Robin Shepherd

      Shire Network News #175 has been released. The feature interview is with British foreign policy specialist and non-insane person (the two tend to be mutually exclusive these days) Robin Shepherd about a new TV documentary in which the UK’s foreign policy is portrayed as completely in thrall to sinister, shadowy "Zionist" businessmen, who manipulate politicians and journalists from the shadows. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

      Below is the text of my commentary.


      Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News asking you to "Consider This!"

      US President Barack Obama has been in office for 10 months now.  While that’s not very long — heck, it’s barely long enough to win a Nobel Peace Prize — I think it’s worth taking stock of where he is on some of his campaign promises and Presidential goals. 

      Let’s start with the closing of the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  He said he’d close it in a year, but two months away from that date even he doesn’t think that’s going to happen.  But he did make a big splash when he moved Kalid Sheik Muhammed, the 9/11 mastermind, to the target of his mastermindedness, New York City, to try him in federal court, right alongside guys who commit mail fraud.  Yes, the guy who planned the largest terror attack on the US is going down the same path as Nigerian scammers who send you letters promising you large sums of money.  That seems adequate, no?

      How about that lynchpin of his presidency, health care reform?  Well, looks like the tough sell just keeps getting tougher.  With only 38% of Americans favoring the plan proposed by Obama and the Democrats, this is looking like those mothers of yesteryear who gave you castor oil for what ails you.  The worse it is, the better it must be for you. 

      Well then, how about the economy?  Sounding very fiscally conservative, he told Fox News (yes, that Fox News), "It is important though to recognize if we keep on adding to the debt, even in the midst of this recovery, that at some point, people could lose confidence in the U.S. economy in a way that could actually lead to a double-dip recession."  What he failed to note is that he is the one adding to the debt.  In a scene reminiscent of Mel Brooks’ "Blazing Saddles", he’s holding a gun to his head and threatening to pull the trigger if he doesn’t start behaving.  In Washington these days, it’s not so much that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.  It’s more like the left hand doesn’t even know there is a right hand. 

      Then there’s the idea that the world loves us now, all because Obama is the anti-Bush.  A new day would dawn in foreign relations.  Except that it’s not.  In his recent trip to Asia, this self-proclaimed "first Pacific President" not only didn’t get any concessions from China, he participated in a press conference where questions were forbidden.  Way to stand up to those Communists, Obama.  Not even the eeevil Bush ever bowed, er, stooped that low.  Later, he lost the participation of Japan in refueling US warships destined for Afghanistan.  On the upside, he did get some pretty cool pictures of the Great Wall of China.  I’m told that, from up in space, Barack Obama’s ego is visible to the naked eye.

      Oh, there was almost a foreign policy win with Iran, to get it to ship its uranium to Russia to keep it from building bombs.  Except that last week, shock of shocks, Iran reneged

      Well, never mind what the rest of the world thinks!  They say they love us, but their actions say something else entirely.  Let’s look at the domestic polls to see how his own people love him.  There was such enthusiasm a year ago, when people flocked to elect the first African-American as President of the US.  Well, since then, the bloom has fallen off the rose.  His poll numbers dipped below 50% in November, 10 months after taking office with one of the higher initial ratings in recent history.  Now, pretty much all Presidents get into this territory sooner or later; even Reagan hit it in 10 months.  But that means that Barack Obama, the post-racial, feel-good, history-making, hope and change man of the hour is tied for the 3rd worst drop in ratings in the past half-century.  The eeevil Bush took 37 months to make it there.  Heck, Nixon took 25!  Nixon!

      So it appears, then, that The One(tm) has fallen short of wildly exaggerated expectations.  Who’s to blame?  I’d say the guy who set those expectations.  A former Obama supporter has come out with a T-shirt of the iconic Obama poster with the word "Hope" on the bottom, but it’s smeared, as though painted in watercolors and then rained on.  Below the word "Hope" is the phrase "is fading fast". 

      Something tells me that Obama is no different than he was just 10 short months and one Nobel Peace Prize ago.  It’s just that people have now actually taken the time to see who he really is.  I kinda’ wish, though, that they’d done this prior to the election.  A new face in the Oval Office doesn’t make enemies lose their self-interest.  Heck, it doesn’t even do that for allies!  It doesn’t magically turn the economy around, nor make budget-busting proposals palatable (especially when you complain about budget-busting as though someone else is doing it).  I’ll tell you one thing it does, though; it gets a populace to finally consider this.

        Feel-Good Diplomacy

        How’s that working out for President Obama?  Charles Krauthammer takes a look back at the past nine months and ticks off this administration’s biggest foreign policy initiatives.

        What’s come from Obama holding his tongue while Iranian demonstrators were being shot and from his recognizing the legitimacy of a thug regime illegitimately returned to power in a fraudulent election? Iran cracks down even more mercilessly on the opposition and races ahead with its nuclear program.

        What’s come from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton taking human rights off the table on a visit to China and from Obama’s shameful refusal to see the Dalai Lama (a postponement, we are told)? China hasn’t moved an inch on North Korea, Iran or human rights. Indeed, it’s pushing with Russia to dethrone the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

        What’s come from the new-respect-for-Muslims Cairo speech and the unprecedented pressure on Israel for a total settlement freeze? "The settlement push backfired," reports The Post, and Arab-Israeli peace prospects have "arguably regressed."

        And what’s come from Obama’s single most dramatic foreign policy stroke — the sudden abrogation of missile defense arrangements with Poland and the Czech Republic that Russia had virulently opposed? For the East Europeans it was a crushing blow, a gratuitous restoration of Russian influence over a region that thought it had regained independence under American protection.

        But maybe not gratuitous. Surely we got something in return for selling out our friends. Some brilliant secret trade-off to get strong Russian support for stopping Iran from going nuclear before it’s too late? Just wait and see, said administration officials, who then gleefully played up an oblique statement by President Dmitry Medvedev a week later as vindication of the missile defense betrayal.

        The Russian statement was so equivocal that such a claim seemed a ridiculous stretch at the time. Well, Clinton went to Moscow this week to nail down the deal. What did she get?

        "Russia Not Budging on Iran Sanctions; Clinton Unable to Sway Counterpart." Such was The Post headline’s succinct summary of the debacle.

        Note how thoroughly Clinton was rebuffed. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared that "threats, sanctions and threats of pressure" are "counterproductive." Note: It’s not just sanctions that are worse than useless, but even the threat of mere pressure.

        There’s more; read the whole thing(tm).  Now granted, nine months is not time enough to make great strides.  Heck, it’s barely enough time to win a "peace" prize.  But if the world has a collective thrill up its leg over the election of He Who Is Not Bush, it’s having a difficult time showing it. 

        As I noted 3 years ago, the facade is just that; a false front.  Goodwill was not squandered because little of it was there in the first place.  The world is just as difficult to work with now as it has ever been, especially for those European leftists who keep trying to remake American in their image, those radical Islamists who hatched a massive terrorist attack plan while we had a Democrat in the White House, and a Russian government deeply paranoid of America, no matter who is in power.

        Fine oratory, promises, and a medal given because of them, will not change the world.  There are too many enemies out there that will be placated only by a credible threat of force.  The more credible the threat, the less likely it is that it need be used. 

          Shire Network News #157 has been released. The feature interview is with Professor Barry Rubin of the The Global Research in International Affairs  Center in Israel, talking about the statement made by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his fellow 9/11 conspirators at Guantamo Bay taking credit for the atrocity, and why western politicians simply refuse to listen to the enemy when they announce their goals and motives clearly. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

          Below is the text of my commentary.


          Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News asking you to "Consider This!"

          The National Intelligence Council, according to its website, "is a center of strategic thinking within the US Government, reporting to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and providing the President and senior policymakers with analyses of foreign policy issues that have been reviewed and coordinated throughout the Intelligence Community."

          Let me ask you something; what kind of person do you want to be the chairman of this group?  What kind of clear thinking do you want from the person who would lead these intelligence analysts?  Well, let’s find out what kind of person President Obama wants for this position.

          How about a guy who spent so much time with the Saudis that, when we were trying to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, he thought the Saudis were cash-strapped and wouldn’t help much.  (They weren’t, and they did.)  How about a guy who was worried about declaring that Hamas and Hezbollah were "terror groups" (that is to say, telling the truth) because that might make them mad at us and terrorize Americans at home or abroad?  (They haven’t.)

          No?  Yeah, you’re right.  No one with that lack of diplomatic acumen and that inability to read a foreign government would ever work out in that job.  OK then, how about this?  How about a guy who thought that the Chinese government’s response to Tiananmen Square demonstrations (that is to say, the massacre) "stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior"?  Should we hire a guy with that level of understatement, that "contrarian inclination to challenge conventional wisdom of any sort", as James Fallows of The Atlantic might (hypothetically of course) put it?

          Yeah, me neither.  Yet that’s what almost happened this past week.  Barack Obama nominated Chas Freeman to the NIC, the group that leads the effort to produce the National Intelligence Estimate, a report that Left and Right alike look to for support of their foreign policy decisions.  Mr. Freeman, indeed, fits all the previously enumerated anti-criteria, but the Obama administration wanted him to be in charge of our most forward-looking intelligence analysis.  Fortunately, last Tuesday, while I was actually writing up this segment originally, we dodged a bullet and, apparently over all the controversy surrounding this nomination, Mr. Freeman took his name out of consideration.

          Can we make a difference, and keep nuts like this out of positions of power?  Yes we can!

          But the reaction to his un-nomination is, I think, telling.  Here’s a guy who former Secretary of State James Baker thought was a Saudi apologist (and Baker himself is certainly no pro-Israel activist).  Here’s a guy too timid around terrorists, yet a supporter of Chinese tanks over student protestors.  Here’s a guy who wanted a national ID system to combat terror.  (Great idea; ask the innocent "Your papers, please" in order to combat the guilty.) 

          Yet after all this, Freeman’s  and the Left’s knee-jerk reaction is to blame the Israel lobby.  All they have is a hammer, and so every setback looks like a nail.  Well, they got pounded, or nailed, or whatever you want to call it, but the fact that the Left reflexively supported this guy, and reflexively blamed the usual suspects when they lost him, doesn’t really…um…reflect well on them. 

          A contrarian is one thing.  An apologist is another.  They need to take just a bit more time to consider this.

            Engaging the Chinese Government

            During the debate some years ago over whether or not to continue to grant China "Most Favored Nation" trading status, the pro side of the argument included the idea that if we isolate China, their actions against Christians, and the religious in general, would get worse.  They could do it outside of the view of the world and would be unhindered by their watching eyes.  Keeping trade open would allow external influences to affect the culture.

            I personally wasn’t convinced, but it was a reasonable argument.  So how’s it going there these days?

            The violent protests in Tibet that began last week and have since spread across (and beyond) China are frequently depicted as a secessionist threat to Beijing. But the regime’s deeper problem in the current crisis is neither ethnic nor territorial. It’s religious.

            If there’s a template for Beijing’s policy on religion, it’s the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." In 1995, the regime effectively kidnapped Gendun Choekyi Nyima, a 6-year-old boy named by the Dalai Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama, the second-highest ranking figure in Tibetan Buddhism. In Nyima’s place, Beijing designated its own "official" Panchen Lama, the slightly younger Gyaltsen Norbu. Nyima’s whereabouts, assuming he’s alive, are unknown. More recently, a new set of "implementation regulations" on Tibetan religious affairs has come into force, drastically curtailing the freedom of monks and nuns to travel within China, and introducing political themes into the qualification exams required of religious initiates. Of the roughly 100 Tibetan political prisoners, fully three-quarters are monks or nuns.

            Much the same goes with China’s Christians. The regime has substituted its own Catholic hierarchy — the Catholic Patriotic Association — for Rome’s since 1957, leading to endless friction between the Pope and the Communist Party. Similarly, Chinese Protestantism officially operates under the so-called "Three-Self Patriotic Movement" (the three "selfs" being self-governance, self-support and self-propagation), which in turn is regulated by the party. "The purpose of [the regime’s] nominal degree of sympathy for Christianity is to indoctrinate and mobilize for Communist Party objectives," says journalist David Aikman, author of the 2003 book "Jesus in Beijing." "I’ve often joked that the most leftist people in China are members of the Three-Self Church."

            I’m not really seeing how the world’s eyes have done much to curb government abuses in China.  Not even the arrival of the Olympics there has helped.  In fact, it’s possible that it’s causing more oppression so that the government puts it best facade forward. 

            But there is good news…

            Read the rest of this entry

              China’s Economic Threat

              This is another reason why the US government shouldn’t be spending borrowed money to finance extra-constitutional spending.

              The Chinese government has begun a concerted campaign of economic threats against the United States, hinting that it may liquidate its vast holding of US treasuries if Washington imposes trade sanctions to force a yuan revaluation.

              Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning – for the first time – that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress.

              Shifts in Chinese policy are often announced through key think tanks and academies.

              Described as China’s “nuclear option” in the state media, such action could trigger a dollar crash at a time when the US currency is already breaking down through historic support levels.

              It would also cause a spike in US bond yields, hammering the US housing market and perhaps tipping the economy into recession. It is estimated that China holds over $900bn in a mix of US bonds.

              When the federal government is asked to do things the Constitution doesn’t tell it to do, and when more and more money flows through it, and with that more and more power, it’s hard to stop spending. And with that comes borrowing. And with that comes slavery. The same thing could happen even if spending were kept in the context of the Constitution, but once you escape its limits, there is then no limit.

              The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. – Proverbs 22:7 (NIV)

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                Environmentalist Roundup

                Found a number of interesting articles regarding some of the radical environmentalist mentality, although the “radical” adjective is becoming less and less applicable, soon to be replaced by “mainstream”, methinks.

                Paul Watson, one of the founders of Greenpeace and now founder and president of “Sea Shepherd Conservation Society”, says that humans are a virus (the “AIDS of the Earth”), and that we should reduce the earth’s population by 83%. Watson may have broken away from Greenpeace because they weren’t radical enough, but Wikipedia notes some high-profile supporters, some adored by the Left.

                Sea Shepherd has many critics, but also many outspoken supporters including actors Richard Dean Anderson, Pierce Brosnan, Martin Sheen, Sean Penn, and William Shatner, environmental activists Dave Foreman and Farley Mowat, and the late writer Edward Abbey. Corporate sponsors include John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patagonia.

                Sean Penn is often held in high regard with respect to his Iraq war sentiments, and he’s in the company of others not typically considered fringe. (I’ll still watch “Stargate SG-1″ until the upcoming end of the series, in spite of Anderson’s name being on this list.)

                In a similar vein, the “Optimum Population Trust” (Wikipedia entry) says that having more babies is a bad thing, at least with respect to carbon dioxide output. Well, at least here’s one left-wing organization that can say without a hint of irony, “Don’t have children, for the sake of the children.” The article notes that the developed world isn’t really the problem; it’s the developing countries (who probably won’t read the report) that he has issues with.

                The population of developed nations is expected to remain unchanged and would have declined but for migration.

                The British fertility rate is 1.7. The EU average is 1.5.

                (As an asidee, this really proves Mark Stein’s point when he says that the Arab/Muslim world could install a Caliphate without firing a shot, by simply migrating and reproducing, since the Western world isn’t.)

                What I find ironic is that the Left, where you often find imagery of back-alley abortions to buttres their points, is likly encouraging another back-alley practice.

                China faces a looming baby boom as newly-rich couples find they can afford to pay fines incurred from having more than one child.

                [G]rowing numbers of pregnant women are risking their own lives and those of their children by seeking back-alley deliveries to avoid fines for having more than one child, Xinhua quoted vice health minister Jiang Zuojun as saying.

                Back-alley procedures are bad if more babies are saved overall, but they’re acceptable if they save the atmosphere. I’d rather that people didn’t choose either of these dangers, but look at the priorities on display. Someone’s holding a magnet to these folks’ moral compasses.

                And then, appealing to our spirituality, Al Gore holds an evangelistic meeting.

                “It’s in part a spiritual crisis,” Gore told the crowd in the Convention Center at the American Institute of Architects national convention. “It’s a crisis of our own self-definition — who we are. Are we creatures destined to destroy our own species? Clearly not.”

                I will agree that poor stewardship can be a spiritual issue, but I see some problems with the connection he’s trying to make. First, self-definition is circular, and from my religious point of view Someone Else does the defining. Secondly, in spite of evidence to the contrary, Gore continues to preach about that global warming / hurricane connection that the climatologists say doesn’t exist.

                These looming problems involve flooding and severe coastal erosion from rising seas and increasingly severe storms, more common and prolonged drought, and changes in the growing seasons and migration patterns of many wild species.

                He’s got his own crisis to deal with. He shouldn’t bring in a generic religious message for pandering purposes.

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                  Will Sanctions Work…This Time?

                  Will sanctions really work this time? Unlike those in Iraq, in which our “allies” made deals under the table, it looks like even China is going along with the UN resolution against North Korea; not just in word but, so far, in deed. That was one of the big questions before the vote; would China go along. The big question after the vote is whether or not this is a smokescreen; playing nice here and there to mask backroom deals.

                  Another big question is whether or not the sanctions will have the desired effect on North Korea. Both questions will require that we be vigilante in making sure they are fully in force, and also not kid ourselves that they just need more time when it becomes apparent they’re not working.

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                    Changes in China?

                    More religious openness in China? Could be happening.

                    A Christian author has been permitted to sign his books at a press conference at the Beijing International Book Fair, a first, according to Chinese officials.

                    “This is the first time in the history of China that an international religious leader has been permitted to sign copies of his book in a large public secular venue,” said Shen Weiping of the China Association for International Friendly Contact.

                    The signing was by evangelist Luis Palau, whose book, “Riverside Talks: A Friendly Dialogue Between an Atheist and a Christian,” was released Wednesday at a Beijing news conference cut short when the crowd of journalists, photographers and television crews rushed the stage to get autographed copies and interview the authors.

                    It’s the first time such a book has been issued in China, according to Craig Chastain of the Luis Palau Association, because it has a clear statement of the beliefs of Christianity and a description of how to become a Christian.

                    There were 500 copies of the book prepared for the book fair, but they were snatched up immediately.

                    Read the rest of this entry

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