This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← After Bibles seized, U.S. group won't leave Chinese airport

After Bibles seized, U.S. group won't leave Chinese airport - Comments

Opti-mystic's Avatar Comment 1 by Opti-mystic

Of course, being stopped at customs was the last thing they expected.

Yeah, right.
As transparent as the most transparent thing you can think of.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 09:37:00 UTC | #220112

Wosret's Avatar Comment 2 by Wosret

Well, I think their wasting time and effort with bibles, but I am deeply troubled by such regulation. I indeed do think it's wrong.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 09:42:00 UTC | #220113

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 3 by Dr. Strangegod

On the one hand, I really am a bit sketched out by the authoritarian control in China, though I won't go so far as to condemn it because I'm not sure I trust the information I have about the place. I do very much think that in any country, all its citizens should be free to worship whatever they want (I'd suggest pasta, but whatever), and there should be laws that guarantee that freedom.

On the other hand, maybe sometimes totalitarianism is useful. You may guarantee your citizens' right to worship, but you don't have to guarantee free access by foreigners to proselytize. So I don't think this is a freedom of religion issue, as much as it is a freedom of proselytization issue - or, if you want to be more critical, a freedom to spread a bunch of destructive, backward-thinking lies to some innocent, uneducated, rural folk issue.

So the Chinese government is regulating the meme-flow to its citizens. This time it's in our favor.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 09:46:00 UTC | #220116

cerad's Avatar Comment 4 by cerad

I wonder if it's possible to train dogs to sniff out bibles? You know, opium of the masses and all that good stuff. Probably have to use some other animal for the Koran since dogs are impure.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 09:47:00 UTC | #220117

kkelly's Avatar Comment 5 by kkelly

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to tell the difference
Oh, and take away all self-perspective so that I never realize how pathetic and trite I am in the cases where, in your infinite mystery, you fail to answer this prayer.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 09:48:00 UTC | #220119

J Mac's Avatar Comment 6 by J Mac

As much as I am against the spreading of religion I don't condone such regulation. Christians should be as free to print and distribute their fiction as any other fiction fan club. Ironically they could get it passed customs if they would admit it was fictional entertainment rather than religion.

Also I believe this Klein fellow is the same one I met a couple years ago. If it is the same man he is actually quite a wonderful man working on many positive changes in China.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 09:50:00 UTC | #220121

jimbob's Avatar Comment 7 by jimbob

What an irony to see one group of dogmatists stymied by another!

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 09:51:00 UTC | #220122

adamhaar's Avatar Comment 8 by adamhaar

If someone tried to bring 300 books, any books, into any country, I would expect there to be some difficulty with the customs service. Especially if they were all the same book. Surely most countries would charge some sort of tax (300 books exceeding the 'duty-free' limit) and there may be questions asked about why someone is importing so many books.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 09:54:00 UTC | #220126

InfuriatedSciTeacher's Avatar Comment 10 by InfuriatedSciTeacher

I'm not sure this bothers me.... this group is clearly importing books for economic gain. If one of us were to attempt to bring in 300 copies of say, well anything else, without paying import tariffs, we would be subject to the same law, would we not? Perhaps the Chinese should have stuck to applying those laws rather than making special rules for religious materials. Then again, the purpose here is likely to control any influences that could subvert their control over the population.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 09:59:00 UTC | #220135

Eventhorizon's Avatar Comment 9 by Eventhorizon

I smell a PR stunt

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 09:59:00 UTC | #220134

J Mac's Avatar Comment 11 by J Mac

"this group is clearly importing books for economic gain."

Actually they aren't. They bibles and the travel costs are donated, the bibles are given out freely.

If the government regulates the importation of books so be it. But if they would allow 300 comic books to be imported for free distribution I don't see the difference with bibles.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 10:06:00 UTC | #220143

prospero52742's Avatar Comment 12 by prospero52742

Is it not the supreme irony that the American president who restored judicial torture should be the one to criticize China's record on human rights?

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 10:16:00 UTC | #220148

Mike O'Risal's Avatar Comment 13 by Mike O'Risal

Part of me thinks that any form of censorship is wrong.

Another part thinks, well, that's four less fundienutters. It's a start.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 10:18:00 UTC | #220150

J Mac's Avatar Comment 14 by J Mac

Personally I feel a rational world view will win out over religion through a free exchange of ideas, education, and public access to relevant data. I don't think a religion should ever be censored (any more than any other publication). Criticized yes, insulted if you like, but not censored.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 10:19:00 UTC | #220153

InfuriatedSciTeacher's Avatar Comment 15 by InfuriatedSciTeacher

Jmac> fair enough... if there is not money in it, then this is pure censorship, and I have to agree with your point.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 10:21:00 UTC | #220156

J Mac's Avatar Comment 16 by J Mac

That being said however I think it was Lucas who made a very good point on the other side. If china doesn't allow proselytizing we have no right to interfere. It is their nation, and their laws. However I'm pretty sure Mr Klein is a chinese citizen (if he's the guy I met).

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 10:23:00 UTC | #220158

perkyjay's Avatar Comment 17 by perkyjay

The solution would appear to be simple - stick 'em on a plane and deport them. Don't worry about smuggling charges, but make sure that their names appear in all the immigration service computers in China as "personae non gratae".

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 10:36:00 UTC | #220170

ghuckin's Avatar Comment 19 by ghuckin

Klein said he's been bringing Bibles into China for 21 years and had no idea he was breaking Chinese law.


No doubt, he also didn't know that ignorance of the law is no defence.

If I was taking three hundred of anything into any country, I know that I would have to declare the fact, not leave it up to the X-ray equipment to discover them. This stinks of "let's see what we can get away with".

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 10:39:00 UTC | #220175

Chris Bell's Avatar Comment 18 by Chris Bell

It may be a PR stunt, but we should still support this. You should be able to take as many copies of whatever book into whatever country you want, subject only to import taxes (which is not the issue here).

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 10:39:00 UTC | #220174

rustylix's Avatar Comment 20 by rustylix

Yeah, bibles are a useless waste of time, but, as an American, living in a diverse city, I'm 100% on the side of freedoms of speech/religion.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 10:41:00 UTC | #220177

JemyM's Avatar Comment 21 by JemyM

It would be more effective of them to teach children why religious books arent true, than trying to keep them away from religious books.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 10:48:00 UTC | #220181

yesspam's Avatar Comment 22 by yesspam

"Under Chinese law, it is illegal to bring printed religious material into the country if it exceeds the amount for personal use".

Here's where we can help. We can collect all those unread, unwanted bibles in hotels, and take one over every time we visit China, and leave it there.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 10:55:00 UTC | #220189

bamafreethinker's Avatar Comment 23 by bamafreethinker

What if it were 300 copies of the Koran - a book tha could possibly inspire hate and crime and at the very least - instill the fear of hell into young gullible minds?

This is indeed a tough one, but as Jefferson put it: "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it".

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 11:08:00 UTC | #220198

thrutraffic's Avatar Comment 24 by thrutraffic

"Bibles are in short supply in some locations, especially rural areas, according to a 2007 report from the U.S. State Department"

Why is our State Department spending taxpayer time and money counting bibles???

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 11:23:00 UTC | #220206

beanson's Avatar Comment 25 by beanson

Yay- China gets it right for once

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 11:31:00 UTC | #220216

larhule's Avatar Comment 26 by larhule

This isn't a "tough one" nor do you need to live in "a diverse city" to understand it. Freedom of speech is absolute and China sucks ass for not guaranteeing such a right as absolute. The few replies that I have read to this article can only assure me that in both principle and practice, I would much rather live in a country with absolute freedom of speech than one populated entirely by atheists without that freedom. Sometimes, my comrades, you just turn my stomach! Now that you've so proudly and repetitively slammed the idiotic claims of the religious perhaps you ought to step up to the far more lucid, nuanced, beneficial and brilliant foundations of free society!

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 11:32:00 UTC | #220217

larhule's Avatar Comment 27 by larhule

"Yay- China gets it right for once"

DISGUSTING!

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 11:40:00 UTC | #220222

bluebird's Avatar Comment 28 by bluebird

thrutraffic, that caught my eye also! I think this is the answer:
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/irf/


Off topic: A few U.S. hotels are now offering a 'Spiritual Menu' to guests. The rooms still have standard bibles, but, folks with different faiths can "order" their own book.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 11:57:00 UTC | #220231

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 29 by Steven Mading

This is what happens when two freedom-stifling philosophies clash.

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 12:21:00 UTC | #220244

catskill's Avatar Comment 30 by catskill

This just makes me think of all the times I have heard "Yeah but we don't PUSH our ideas on people..."

Yeah right. I am sure they give out those Bibles and say you can believe or not, no harm no foul right? Or is it more, believe or burn? Hmmm..

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 12:23:00 UTC | #220245