(Shanghai, [municipality, not part of a province or state; bordered by Jiangsu Province]— October 20, 2020) The Christian Council of China and the Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches of China, both official government-sanctioned religious organizations, are using Chinese pinyin initials “JD” to replace Chinese characters for “Christ,” to circumvent China’s internet censorship.
Recently, “Tianfengshuyuan,” the official WeChat book store of the Christian Council of China and the Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches of China, updated titles and descriptions of all its books. The book store owners replaced all Chinese characters for “Christ” with Chinese pinyin initials “JD,” or even completely removed “Christ” from its books. As shown in the picture above, in the title of “Anthology of the Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches of China,” “Protestant Churches” has been replaced with “JD.” In the book title of “Walking with the mother country-patriotic stories of Chinese Christians,” “Christians” is covered with color blocks. In Chinese pinyin, “Christ” is spelled as “ji du.” The pinyin initials are “JD.” Probably that’s why they use “JD” in place of “Christ.” Fuzeng Xing, Dean of Chung Chi Seminary of Chinese University of Hong Kong, wrote on his Facebook page: “In their official WeChat store, not only ‘Christ’ becomes ‘JD,’ ‘Jesus’ also becomes ‘YS,’ and ‘Bible’ becomes ‘SJ.’” Stores cover any occurrences of other religious terms like “God” and “Lord” with color blocks.
The Christian Council of China and the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches of China, both as official government-sanctioned religious organizations, cannot sell their books through regular channels. Instead, for their businesses to survive China’s internet, these booksellers have to modify the text.
Since March 30, 2018, the “Holy Bible” has been removed from all online booksellers in throughout China, including Taobao, Jingdong, WeChat store, Dangdang, Amazon China, etc. As the CCP has also banned related Christian books, many online religious booksellers’ stores shut down.
Unlike Buddhist and Islamic books, as the “Holy Bible” does not have an ISBN in China, regular book stores do not sell Bibles there. People can only buy them legally from government-sanctioned “three-self” churches, Christian Council of China stores, or the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches of China scenes.
In 2001, Zuoan Wang, head of China’s national religious affairs bureau, said: “The printing and distributing of the ‘Holy Bible’ is under a ‘special condition.’ We delegated the whole thing to the Christian Council of China and the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches of China. It’s like granting a ‘special privilege’ to them.”
China’s internet censorship has deprived these publishers of such “special privilege,” however. Authorities even censor the company’s official WeChat store. Current challenges to Christian booksellers confirms that the Chinese Communist Party is imposing stronger controls over Christianity.
(Reported by Zhensai Gao, a special correspondent of ChinaAid)
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