An online bookseller from China is being sentenced to seven years in prison and fined $29,450 USD, charged with "illegal business operations", because of selling Christian content.
On September 1, the bookstore owner Chen Yu, was detained for selling unapproved religious publications imported from Taiwan, the US, and other countries. All this was reported by International Christian Concern (ICC).
Yu lives and operated his store out of Taizhou city in the Zhejiang province of China.
After detaining Yu, the police launched a nationwide search of people who had purchased books from this store and then confiscated their purchased books. The police found them by looking through sales records.
On September 27, not even one month after being detained, Yu was charged with prison time, a fine, and had his phone confiscated.
In addition, the Linhai City Public Security Bureau is destroying the remaining Christian books in his store, a total of 12,864.
While practising Christianity and claiming faith in Jesus Christ is not technically illegal in China, any religious activity, including selling Christian books, must be approved by the state first before people can proceed.
According to Bitter Winter, a magazine on religious liberty and human rights in China, the sales of Bibles and other religious materials were banned on the internet on March 30, 2018.
A house church pastor from Shenzhen city in the southern province of Guangdong also told Bitter Winter, "People who buy Christian books are practicing believers, so the government looks into them to determine how dangerous they are to the stability of their regime."
According to Open Doors, China is number 23 on the 2020 World Watch List.
Open Doors USA says, "Pray for courage for believers to meet together as the culture becomes increasingly hostile to Christian churches."