Bible sellers in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia
02/15/2022 Washington, D.C.—Four Christians from Chinese Inner Mongolia have been arrested for selling Bibles. They were charged with “illegal business operations”, a charge that could lead to several years in prison.
Wang Honglan, 66, her husband, second son and eldest son’s daughter-in-law were arrested in April 2021 for selling Bibles. The prosecution suggested a 15-year sentence for Wang Honglan, since she is listed as the first defendant, and the “illegal profit” she made was more than 40 million RMB ($6.2 million) .
On January 11, 2022, four Christian lawyers came to Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, to report that they had been commissioned by the four Christians to handle their “illegal business operations” case in Huimin People’s Court. However, the four lawyers have been informed that the case will open on January 17.
Given the short timeframe, it would be impossible for Fang Xiangui, Zhu Shujin, Zhao Qingshan, and Yuan Mao to read the 123 files and learn more about the case in time. They immediately protested to Judge Han Yanjie, hoping that the court would guarantee them enough time to read the materials according to law.
Judge Han replied that the court had already done all the preparation, including assigning the judicial police and arranging the court hearings, so she rejected their request to postpone the trial.
After a long debate with Judge Han and the presiding judge, the four lawyers knew that their request would not be granted. In response, they took to social media to protest the violation of their attorney rights by identifying several government-owned WeChat accounts.
On January 15, Lawyer Fang shared on his social media, “Thank you all for your prayers and attention. Because the prosecution has provided new files, the court has notified us that the trial has been postponed.
Details of Wang’s case and the date of the trial were not disclosed. Please continue to pray for Wang Honglan and his family members who are imprisoned and awaiting trial.
In April 2018, China began banning the sale of Bibles online. Internet users could no longer buy a Bible on e-commerce sites and had to go to state-sanctioned churches to buy Bibles. Since then, many online sites and apps have been shut down, and Bible sellers have been arrested and imprisoned.
“The government and most Chinese ‘perceive Christianity as a foreign religion’ and view limiting access to Bibles as a way to ‘eliminate Western influence’.”
A Chinese Christian questioned about the crackdown on Bibles.
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This story is part of the ICC series Chained to the podium, a series where we remember those who have suffered or are currently suffering persecution by the Chinese Communist Party because of their faith. This series will be posted daily for the duration of the Beijing Olympics in 2022. Click here to learn more about the project.
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Since 1995, ICC has served the persecuted world church through a three-pronged approach of advocacy, outreach and assistance. ICC exists to heal the wounds of persecuted Christians and to build the church in the most difficult parts of the world.