The Not-So-Good Book

CHIEN-MIN CHUNG/REUTERS

Banned: Some Bibles, like these, can be sold in China -- but not the ones carried by Lai Kwong-keung

In the crowded stalls of Beijing's Book Street, Bibles compete openly for space with self-help manuals and guides to getting into American M.B.A. programs. Selling the holy book is perfectly legal in China, certainly more legitimate than the peddling of skin magazines. (Look under the stack of computer journals.) So when Lai Kwong-keung, a 38-year-old Hong Kong trader, was indicted last month in Fujian province for bringing 33,000 Bibles into China, his mainland-born wife was puzzled. "How can you arrest someone," she asks, "for bringing in books that are available all over China?"

In fact, Lai's books...

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