“I am not surprised ….” says Stephen Green

Mr Green (right) surveyed the printing machine, with Mr Catford (left) of BFBS and Mr Qiu (middle) of Amity Press. (Photo: APC)

“I am not surprised by the success of Amity Press — it is meeting a need that is recognized in a society undergoing a remarkable transformation,” remarked Mr Stephen Green, Group Chairman of Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC) during his visit to Nanjing’s Amity Printing Company on 24 March 2010.

Mr Green and his wife, Jay, were accompanied by Mr James Catford, the Group Chief Executive of British and Foreign Bible Societies (BFBS) and Ms Sue Wilmot, Key Relationships Manager of BFBS. They were welcomed by Mr Qiu Zhonghui, the Board Chairman of Amity Printing Company, who led them in a tour of the printing facility. Both Mr and Mrs Green were extremely impressed with the operation of Amity Press.

Mr Green’s comments followed a presentation given by Mr Kua Wee Seng, Coordinator of United Bible Societies China Partnership. Mr Kua, in highlighting the phenomenal spread of God’s Word in China over the last 25 years, revealed that the Press had printed more than 70 million copies of Bibles – of which 50 million were distributed within the Mainland –since it began operation in 1987. In 2009 alone, the Press had produced a record number of 4 million Bibles. Today, the Bible is the best-selling book in China while Amity Press is probably the world’s largest Bible printing press.

“Modernization in China is a journey and it has come to extraordinary length in a very short period, but it has a long way to go,” noted Mr Green, adding that “the senior Chinese leaders are very aware of the challenges that China faces as it seeks to achieve a harmonious social development.” He also said that “we don’t have to go very far from the cities to see a different level of economic development.  When I took a boat from Wuhan to the Three Gorges last year, I saw villages that are very poor, with very little in the way of modern comforts. People were pulling carts with only oxen plowing the fields. It was a very different world.”

Mr Green believes that there is “a recognition of the importance of the spiritual and ethical dimension, and a recognition of the importance of understanding where human meaning, human roots, human satisfaction can be found.”  He also added that he could recognize these pervasive feelings throughout the people in China.  That is why he is not surprised by the success of Amity Press as it produces Bibles which are meeting China’s spiritual needs.

In Mr Green’s recent book – Good Value: Reflections on Money, Morality and an Uncertain World –he referred to the Bible and wrote that “as globalization unfolds and challenges the human condition itself, we learn more and more about what we are capable of – for good and for ill – and what we learn is in fact an old truth, an old dilemma, embedded in the whole history of human species, and given voice in passages of creative beauty, in poetry of indignant anger and in reflective existential wisdom, in those extraordinary ancient writings from the Bible.”

(from left to right) Rev Dr Melissa Lin, Rev Dr Chen Yilu, Mr Stephen Green, Mr James Catford and Ms Sue Wilmot at the Seminary library. (Photo: Nanjing Theological Seminary)

Later in the day, Mr Green and his delegates also visited the Nanjing Theological Seminary where they were received by Rev Dr Chen Yilu, Executive Vice President of the Seminary and Rev Dr Melissa Lin, Interim Dean of Studies. As the delegates were touring the Seminary library, Dr Chen pointed out a section of the library where UBS is looking at raising funds to help develop it into a Bible Resource Centre.

Reported by Jock Foo

Edited by Pamela Choo
for United Bible Societies, China Partnership