(CP) – Chinese authorities arrested four Christians for selling audio Bibles as part of a government campaign to “eradicate pornography and illegal publications.” The Christians now face hefty prison sentences.
Religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter reports that the four Christians — Fu Xuanjuan, Deng Tianyong, Han Li, and Feng Qunhao — worked at a company called Life Tree Culture Communication Co., Ltd., which was founded in 2011 in the province of Guangdong. The believers sold electronic units that had the Bible pre-loaded on them. They were arrested on July 2 on charges of “illegal business operations.”
The Christians have another court hearing on Dec. 9, according to International Christian Concern. Authorities are seeking harsh sentences for the accused, with the suggested sentence for Fu being five years in prison; Deng, as the company’s supervisor, to serve three years in prison and pay a fine; Feng, as the technician, to also serve three years in prison and pay a fine, while Han, as the accountant, to serve 18 months and pay a fine.
ICC notes that Life Tree Culture Communication Co. is a “legally established company,” but if China’s “government wants to criminalize you, it does not need a reason.” “The hefty sentences against these Christians are used to scare other Christians so they would not dare to sell Bibles without going through state-sanctioned churches.” Such incidents are not uncommon in China, where religious practice outside state-sponsored groups is strictly controlled. Recently, a Christian in Guangdong told Bitter Winter that police investigated him because he had bought an audio Bible player online. READ MORE