A Chinese Christian who was selling religious books online has been sentenced to seven years in prison and fined nearly $30,000 for engaging in what the Chinese regime terms as “illegal business operations.”
Persecution watchdog International Christian Concern reports that in September 2019, Chen Yu, who operated his online bookstore in Zhejiang province’s Taizhou city, was detained for selling ‘unapproved religious publications’ imported from Taiwan, the U.S., and other countries.
He was sentenced to seven years in prison last week and fined 200,000 RMB ($29,450), according to a document from the People’s Court of Linhai City, shared by Father Francis Liu from the Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness.
Additionally, Chen will also have his iPhone confiscated, while the 12,864 Christian books from his bookstore will be destroyed by the Linhai City Public Security Bureau.
ICC reports that police also launched a nationwide investigation to track down the bookstore’s customers through sale records and will confiscate their purchased books.
The crackdown in China on religious activity has been escalating in recent times with more desperate measures, even worse than the predicament of Chen Yu.
Last year, the owner of Wheat Bookstore, Zhang Xiaomai, was detained on suspicion of “illegal business operations.” A government-issued document accused her of buying religious publications from overseas and illegally selling them.
Many churches have been demolished by Chinese authorities with strict instructions and laws guiding the establishing of a church.
Among the conditions are that the church would confirm to the directions and teachings of the Communist Party regarding the superiority the president and the party above even religious matters.