A Chinese man this year was sentenced to more than three years in prison for publishing Christian books in an alarming criminal case that involved more than two dozen people, according to a new report.
Xian Renguo, the director of the secretarial department of the South Korean Good News Mission in China, received a sentence of three years and ten months in prison and was fined about $3,000 in U.S. dollars for his role in “illegal business operations” – that is, publishing Christian books, according to Bitter Winter, which monitors religious liberty in China.
Two other Good News Mission members were given sentences of three years and six months in prison, while several printing house managers were sentenced to three years in prison.
All total, the crackdown on books by the Good News Mission involved arrests and/or fines of 26 people in 13 provinces, Bitter Winter reported.
Good News Mission, a Christian movement, was based out of Guangzhou city and published books such as “Looking Up” and “Colorful Dreams.”
“These two books mainly include testimonies on the experiences of Mission members, and are intended for internal circulation within the Mission,” Bitter Winter reported. “Nearly all of these 26 people were sentenced for participating in the compiling and printing of these two books.”
Chinese citizens have experienced a crackdown on illegal religious publications in recent months.
According to Bitter Winter, a house church minister in the province of Liaoning was arrested last December for transporting religious books and has not been released.
In November 2019, a house church member and a printing house manager each received 10-month prison sentences for printing children’s Christian books used in the church.
The crackdown has impacted other religions, too.
A printing shop owner in the province of Guizhou was detained for 37 days in September for photocopying the Quran, Bitter Winter reported. He was released after posting bail.
Photo courtesy: Prateek Katyal/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.