What’s going on?

The Chinese government is cracking down on a “loophole” that let people more easily obtain Bibles: online sales. Online Chinese retailers can no longer sell copies of the Bible, a ban that’s part of China’s longstanding attempts to keep Christianity from the Chinese people.

Where can Chinese people get Bibles?

Bibles can’t be sold through commercial channels; people in China can only legally purchase them at church bookstores.

What else should I know?

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been pushing Buddhism, Taoism and folk religion while trying to limit the influence of Christianity and Islam. While the Quran is still available for purchase online, the government has cracked down in recent years on public displays of the Muslim faith, including headscarves and long beards.

China plans to release an “approved” version of the Bible in the next five years. An estimated 72 to 92 million Christians live in China.

“Sensitive religious topics and groups are among the most censored in China,” Sarah Cook, senior research analyst for East Asia at Freedom House, told CNN. “In our research we found the Chinese authorities increasingly using more high-tech methods to control religion and punish believers — including surveillance and arrest of believers for sharing information online.”

Glenn’s take:

China has been pretending to be an open and friendly nation that can stand with other world leaders. But this crackdown on the Christian faith shows its true communist colors.

“It’s just another casualty of China’s continual effort to restrict internet and religious freedom,” Glenn said.

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