The Chinese government has reportedly banned the sale of Bibles at online bookstores across the country to comply with a "white paper" that is dictating compliance with the "core values of socialism."
Australia's ABC News reported on Wednesday that copies of the Gospels have been disappearing from online retailers following the release of the "China's Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief" document.
The white paper in question declares that Chinese faith communities "should adhere to the direction of localizing the religion, practice the core values of socialism, develop and expand the fine Chinese tradition and actively explore the religious thought which accords with China's national circumstances."
The document also states that the next five years will see an effort to build up Chinese Christianity and the Chinese theology to "consciously develop Bible study talents to lay a solid foundation for reinterpreting and re-translating the Bible or writing the reference books."
The move has left Chinese Christians speaking out in "confusion and outrage" online, the article said.
Warren Wang, a Christian who immigrated to Australia from Shanghai in 2012, said that believers could sense such a move was coming.
"I'm not that surprised that they're taking the Bible off the shelves now," Wang said.
"This is a lot like something China would do — the Communist Party teaches atheism and since Xi Jinping is becoming increasingly powerful — this is expected," he added, referring to the Chinese president.