Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: June 15, 2018
As part of the intensified campaign to crack down on religious freedoms, Chinese authorities have recently banned the sale of the Holy Bible in the country. Christians have reported being unable to buy it online or in bookstores. Not only do the authorities control the sale of the Bible. They have treated the transportation, printing, or binding of the Bible as a criminal offense – offenders are arrested, detained or sent to prison; and this is not a new phenomenon.
Song Huiying, a 49-year-old from a village in Longhu town, the city of Xinzheng, Henan Province, was binding Bibles with her eight colleagues in May 2012, when a group of armed policemen from special forces rushed in. Before Song and her colleagues could react, the police arrested them and immediately escorted them to the Songshan Road police station in the city of Zhengzhou. The contractor who hired Song and the others to bind the Bibles, Xiaoliu, was at the premises and was also arrested.
At the police station, when questioned if they knew that they had been contracted to print the Bible, the detained replied that they were unaware of the fact. However, the police still escorted them to the detention center in the western suburbs of Zhengzhou on the grounds of “unlawfully printing the Bible,” where they spent almost two months.
Before releasing her, the police repeatedly warned Song Huiying that she should not touch the Bible in the future. Not a believer, she was surprised that printing and binding the Bible was illegal and could result in arrest and detention in China. Song agreed to the job wanting to earn additional money for her family. Song’s employer, Xiaoliu, not a believer as well, just took an order to bind the Bible but ended up with a sentence of eight years in prison on charges of “printing cult books,” which he is still serving.