by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - A court in China has not only sentenced a Christian couple to seven years in prison for selling the Bible Christian books without permission but has also imposed such punitive fines on the pair that they have been left penniless and with no means to support their four children, Union of Catholic Asian (UCA) News reports.
Christian couple Chang Yuchun, 53, and Li Chenhu, 44 founded Guang Yi Ai Sheng Printing Co. in Xi’an in Shaanxi province in 2015, UCA said. Through their company, the couple printed and sold the Bible and other Christian books until government authorities shut their business down in 2020.
Following a raid on a warehouse in July last year, the Xi’an Municipal Culture Law Enforcement Department and Xi’an Municipal National Security Department identified 24 Christian books that were “unauthorized for publication.” On July 22, the Xi’an Gaoling District police placed Chang and Li under house arrest on a charge of “subversion of state power.” The couple was subsequently charged with running “illegal business operations.”
In August 2021, a court in Xi’an in Shaanxi province sentenced to imprisonment and handed down fines of 250,000 yuan (US$37,240) each, UCA said. The couple’s children aged 4-22 are living with their elderly grandparents. The family says the fines have placed a heavy burden on them. The couple lost their appeal against conviction in November.
“Religions and religious publications face strict surveillance and censorship in communist and officially atheist China,” UCA News noted in its report. “There have been many cases of abuses, arrests and punishment for Christians engaged in media and publishing, both in print and digital format.”
China ranks 17th on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.