Chinese Christians give Bush handwritten Bible
Washington: Chinese Christians said they presented former US president George W Bush with a Bible handwritten at a labour camp in a bid to highlight concerns about a lack of religious freedom.
The George W Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas, said that Bush on Tuesday received one of a number of Bibles which Chinese Christians had copied by hand at a labour camp where they were detained over an illegal religious gathering.
More than two dozen Christians had read the set of homemade Bibles for more than a year, "sustaining the faith of the prisoners who read them, in secret, in the dark of night”, the former president's institute said in a statement.
It said that the Bush Institute planned to preserve the Bible "along with other significant materials from freedom and democracy movements around the world" as part of a collection that will go online in early 2012.
ChinaAid, a US-based group that assists underground Christians in the country, said in a statement that the Bible came from a camp in northwestern China.
It said it offered the Bible "as a token of appreciation for president Bush's dedication to the advancement of religious freedom in China and his tireless efforts as an advocate for those Chinese in bondage."
ChinaAid's founder, Bob Fu, met Bush along with several other Chinese including a daughter of Gao Zhisheng, a prominent human rights lawyer who has defended underground Christians and other vulnerable groups. Gao has been missing since February 2009.
Bush, a born-again Christian, wrote in his memoir that he pressed China on religious freedom while in the White House but that ex-president Jiang Zemin told him bluntly that he did not "trust" the Bible.