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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08SHANGHAI374
2008-09-05 08:13:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Consulate Shanghai
Cable title:  

NANJING'S AMITY PRINTING COMPANY WORLD'S LARGEST BIBLE

Tags:   CH  KIRF  PGOV  PHUM  SOCI 
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RR RUEHCN RUEHGH
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ZNY CCCCC ZZH
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FM AMCONSUL SHANGHAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7125
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2082
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 1373
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 1344
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 1524
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 1367
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 1180
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 7706
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 SHANGHAI 000374 

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STATE FOR EAP/CM, DRL/IRF
NSC FOR LOI

E.O. 12958: DECL: 9/5/2018
TAGS: CH KIRF PGOV PHUM SOCI
SUBJECT: NANJING'S AMITY PRINTING COMPANY WORLD'S LARGEST BIBLE
PUBLISHER, AMITY FOUNDATION A SOPHISTICATED NGO

REF: A. A) 2006 SHANGHAI 7086

B. B) 2004 SHANGHAI 3118

CLASSIFIED BY: Christopher Beede, Political/Economic Section
Chief, U.S. Consulate General, Shanghai, Department of State.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)



C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 SHANGHAI 000374

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM, DRL/IRF
NSC FOR LOI

E.O. 12958: DECL: 9/5/2018
TAGS: CH KIRF PGOV PHUM SOCI
SUBJECT: NANJING'S AMITY PRINTING COMPANY WORLD'S LARGEST BIBLE
PUBLISHER, AMITY FOUNDATION A SOPHISTICATED NGO

REF: A. A) 2006 SHANGHAI 7086

B. B) 2004 SHANGHAI 3118

CLASSIFIED BY: Christopher Beede, Political/Economic Section
Chief, U.S. Consulate General, Shanghai, Department of State.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)




1. (C) Summary: With its recent move to a larger facility, the
Amity Printing Company in Nanjing will increase its production
of Bibles to over 12 million volumes annually, cementing its
position as the world's largest Bible publisher. Among other
successes, Amity Printing was commissioned by Beijing to produce
a limited run of 100,000 Bibles for the Olympics. Meanwhile,
the company's NGO parent, the Amity Foundation, continues to
take a sophisticated approach to social development in China.
Partnering with international organizations and Christian social
groups to conduct experimental programs at home and overseas,
the Foundation lobbies Beijing for permission to expand, or to
import to China, those programs that prove successful. The
Amity Foundation believes that the May 12 Sichuan earthquake,
and the widespread desire among Chinese to project a good
international image of their society in advance of the Olympics,
drew attention to social issues in China and to the idea of
private giving. END SUMMARY.


2. (SBU) On August 14, Poloffs toured the new site of the Amity
Printing Company in Nanjing, and met with Amity representatives
for an update (see reftels) on the activities of the publisher
and its parent non-governmental organization (NGO), The Amity
Foundation. Our principal interlocutors were: Li Chunnong,
General Manager, Amity Printing Company; and She Hongyu,
Assistant Director, Research and Development Centre, The Amity
Foundation.

GETTING "THE WORD" OUT
--------------


3. (SBU) Li Chunnong explains that Amity Printing Company was
established in 1988 to print Bibles and other church-related
publications, focusing on domestic Chinese Christian needs. A

joint venture between The Amity Foundation (detailed below) and
the United Bible Societies (UBS), the company has published, to
date, a total of 46 million Bibles for domestic consumption, in
standard Chinese as well as in eight Chinese minority languages.
Amity Printing also manufactures Bibles in nearly 70 languages
for export to over 60 countries. Touring the printing facility,
Poloffs observed countless acre-feet of ready-to-ship bibles in
a wide variety of styles, and languages ranging from Afrikaans
to Zulu.


4. (SBU) Li reports that, in addition to standard issue Bibles,
Amity Printing produces a number of specialty editions. One
unique item is a 32-volume Braille Bible which Amity offers to
anyone with this special need at the symbolic rate of 1 RMB
(about 15 cents). Other key publications include textbooks for
seminaries, Christian hymnbooks, and brochures intended to raise
awareness of health and social issues. Li showed Poloffs one
brochure entitled "An Introduction to HIV/AIDS, with the Gospel
of Luke," remarking that most of the pamphlets reference the
Bible in some way.


5. (SBU) In terms of getting the newly-printed Bibles into the
hands of Chinese believers, Li acknowledges that Amity Printing
is only the first leg in the chain. The China Christian Council
(CCC) -- the government-affiliated entity that oversees China's
"official" church, and with which Amity has a close relationship
-- controls domestic Chinese distribution, operating 70 centers
nationwide from which Bibles are sent to approximately 55,000
approved churches and meeting places.

AMITY'S EXODUS
--------------


6. (SBU) Li confirms that Amity Printing's transition this past
spring to its current, larger facility in the Nanjing suburbs
went smoothly. Amity staggered the move over a two-month period
and hired special engineers to transport and reinstall the
printing equipment, so the transition had virtually no impact on
production. Li reports the newly increased capacity has meant
that Amity was able to add four state-of-the-art publishing
machines, each capable of producing 10,000 Bibles daily, to its

SHANGHAI 00000374 002 OF 003


previous two. These will allow the company to raise its output
to more than 12 million Bibles annually. Li further notes the
publisher has no plans to seek new markets for its Bibles since
Amity is already producing at full capacity.

OLYMPIC BIBLES
--------------


7. (C) Li reports Amity was commissioned by the CCC to produce a
limited run of 100,000 Bibles for the Beijing Olympics. Printed
in both Chinese and English, only some 40,000 of these were the
full Bible, while the rest were actually a compendium of the New
Testament books. Li believes the Chinese Government was anxious
to provide Bibles to Olympics athletes and fans, "as tradition
dictates." Li understands that 30,000 of the full Bibles were
slated for distribution to churches around Beijing, and the
other 10,000 for unspecified "free distribution" to visitors.
Still, Li considers the order for 100,000 Bibles "rather large,"
and admits he is not certain where the remainder wound up.
(Note: Some Olympic Bibles were distributed at Sunday service in
Shanghai churches during August, including at the Patriotic
Catholic Church's international community parish mass. Shanghai
was host to several men's and women's Olympics soccer games.
End note.)

AMITY FOUNDATION
--------------


8. (SBU) The Amity Foundation, meanwhile, was founded in 1985 to
promote social welfare, education, health and hygiene, and rural
development in China, She Hongyu explains. Despite its links
with Christian organizations in the West, the Foundation
operates on the premise that "the people of China must take
primary responsibility for improving their society," and that a
Christian NGO is uniquely equipped to take the lead.


9. (C) She describes a wide range of activities that constitute
the Foundation's mission. One program in Butuo County, Sichuan
Province, and operated in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity,
helps replace unstable mud huts with brick residences. On the
health care front, the Foundation targets the rural poor -- with
special focuses on the deaf and blind, victims of leprosy and
polio, and recovering drug addicts -- by building rural clinics,
training medical practitioners, and dispatching mobile surgical
clinics to the far-flung regions of Tibet, Gansu, and Ningxia.
Other notable programs include Amity's support for 60 rural
orphanages, providing early childhood care for the visually
impaired, raising HIV/AIDS awareness, and mediating conflicts
among the disabled.


10. (C) She reports that Amity also played a high profile role
in the aftermath of recent natural disasters in China. During
the brutal snowstorms that affected central and southern China
in January-February 2008, the Foundation sent several staff and
relief supplies to Guizhou Province to provide emergency funding
and over 1,000 blankets. Only five hours after the May 12
Sichuan earthquake struck, Amity dispatched personnel to that
province to set up a relief distribution office there.


11. (C) Amity has adopted a sophisticated approach toward social
development, paying close attention to which methodologies are
likely to maximize effectiveness. She notes that, in providing
rural health care, the Foundation maintains a sharp focus on
"accessibility, accountability, and affordability," which, in
Amity's experience, are the main drivers for achieving health
improvements. Similarly, a large part of the Foundation's work
with rural women and disadvantaged groups has been microfinance,
since income generation programs have most significantly and
noticeably improved the lives of poor Chinese, according to She.


12. (C) Amity often cooperates with individual Chinese churches,
She notes, because many local churches are already familiar with
the Foundation's activities. Additionally, Amity will sometimes
partner with international organizations and Christian social
groups to conduct experimental development programs at home and
overseas. Evidence in hand, the Foundation then lobbies Beijing
for permission to expand, or to import to China, those programs
that prove successful.

CHARITY WITH CHINESE CHARACTERISTICS?
--------------


13. (C) The Amity Foundation has witnessed a significant change

SHANGHAI 00000374 003 OF 003


in Chinese attitudes toward private philanthropy this year, in
contrast to previous years (see reftel A), observes She. As of
July, Amity had received contributions equivalent to 6 million
RMB (about 850,000 USD). Many contributions originate in nearby
Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces. She also admits that
a majority come from private companies, often in goods in kind.
Still, a larger portion than usual has been individual donations
made through local churches. This year, Amity has spent its
contributions supporting Sichuan earthquake victims, and funding
a Foundation center that helps young adults with mental and
physical disabilities find job opportunities.


14. (C) Amity Printing's Li remarks that some Chinese
journalists have recently written articles arguing that, with
the outpouring of emotional and monetary support for the Sichuan
earthquake victims, 2008 represents the start of civil society
in China. She concurs that the idea of private giving has
"become a hot topic" these days, and speculates that the Sichuan
earthquake, and the widespread desire among Chinese to project a
good international image of their society in advance of the
Olympics, is responsible for having drawn attention to social
issues in China. At the same time, She admits a large part of
the donations the Foundation has received this year were
collected in the immediate wake of the earthquake, raising
questions about how sustainable Chinese attention will be.

COMMENT
--------------


15. (C) Both Li and She agree that, in the mid- to long-term,
Amity will need to think hard about how it can continue to
attract donors, increase project effectiveness, and enhance
organizational transparency. Though too soon to tell, the
Olympics and the Sichuan earthquake may at least provide the
springboard towards a more sustained tradition of charity in
China.
SCHUCHAT