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 Human-rights group calls for Bible boycott

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(AgapePress) - A major U.S. publisher of Bibles is coming under fire for having some of its Bibles printed in China, where Christians are being tortured and even killed for their faith. The move is being criticized by a human-rights organization that is skeptical of the company's safeguards against employee abuse.

Zondervan Publishing Company, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a subsidiary of Harper Collins, which is owned by media magnate Rupert Murdoch. Zondervan is the exclusive publisher of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. The copyright page of the new Student Bible Compact carries the notation: "Printed in China." Al Kerkstra, senior vice president for support operations at Zondervan, explains the publisher's rationale.

"The reason we originally went there is obvious: you can get things done at a price that you can't get things done in the States," Kerkstra explains. "Now, we believe that doing business in China gives us an opportunity to improve the living conditions and the human-rights conditions for the people and the companies we do business with."

But Steve Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute -- a group that monitors human-rights abuses in Communist China -- does not think an American Bible company should put profit over principle.

"It is an absolute travesty to have Bibles printed simply because it's cheaper than having them printed elsewhere," Mosher exclaims. "We should be shipping Bibles into China, a country that imprisons and tortures and kills Christians for practicing their faith."


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