Project Pearl

Operation Project Pearl

Project Pearl

Project PearlProject Pearl is the code name given to a landmark 1981 Bible smuggling operation. In one night, Project Pearl smuggled into China one million Chinese Bibles.

At the time of the Project Pearl, Communist China was still reeling from Mao's Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), which had tried to crush among others, Christianity. The country was still closed to outsiders, who didn't know if Christianity in China had survived.

Instead of surviving, it had thrived, as it typically does under persecution, and millions of Chinese Christians needed Bibles, which the Chinese Communist Party confiscated, burned and prohibited from being printed.

Financed and led by Open Doors, Project Pearl was staffed by an all-volunteer crew of twenty Christian men from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, The Netherlands, The Philippines, UK and USA.

How did Project Pearl smuggle a million Bibles into a closed country in one night?

It was by sea. A custom-built submersible barge (below) was loaded in Hong Kong (above) with 232 one-ton waterproof packages, each of which contained fifty 20 kg cardboard boxes of Bibles.

On the night of the operation, a tug boat slowly pulled the barge 200 miles up the coast from Hong Kong, undetected past even a Chinese naval base, to a secluded beach in southern China where thousands of underground church Christians were waiting.

Project Pearl Barge

Upon arrival, the barge was partly submerged to enable the waterproof packages to float. Three small rubber boats were then used to pull the waterproof packages to shore, where the Chinese Christians opened them, took out the boxes of Bibles and hauled them on their backs, bicycles, motorcycles and automobiles across China.

The Lord used Project Pearl not only to rain down 1,000,000 Bibles to His children across China and add fuel to His harvest, but to also turn the Chinese government into His Chinese Bible printer. Having lost face after a Time Magazine article on Project Pearl highlighted the lack of Bibles in China, the Chinese Communist Party hurriedly ordered Bibles to be printed. Until the Nanjing Amity Printing presses came online, the first three million Chinese Bibles were printed on China's Communist army printing presses.