Both the International Olympic Committee and the Beijing Organizing Committee have verified that the Bible and other religious materials will be permitted in the Olympic Village for personal use during the 2008 Olympic Games. However, the Beijing Tourism Administration’s limit on the number of Bibles remains in place.
An email from the US Olympic Committee states:
“We have received confirmation from both the International Olympic Committee and the Beijing Organizing Committee that Bible and other religious materials will be permitted in the Athletes Village for personal use.”
“The news reports that the Beijing Organizing Committee was considering a prohibition were completely incorrect and stemmed from a miscommunication between a journalist from Italy and a representative of the organizing committee.”
“In addition, there will be an area in the Athletes village where athletes, coaches and officials can worship - as is always the case at the Olympic Games.”
The email was obtained by CNA from Mike Falkenstine, president and founder of the China Resource Center.
The AP has reported that USOC spokesman, Darryl Seibel said that the Beijing Organizing Committee never considered any ban on Bibles.
''We fully expect that the standards established by the IOC for previous Games will be in effect for these Games,'' he said.
The reaction to the supposed ban has been immediate and widespread.
US Congressman Thaddeus McCotter introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives condemning any prohibition against bringing Bibles to the Beijing Olympics.
The President of the Catholic League, Bill Donahue, also voiced his disapproval saying that he would write the IOC to demand “an immediate investigation into allegations that the Communist Chinese government plans to violate the Olympic Charter by banning Bibles.”