The decision against Lingbao’s Pastor Yang Jianxin has been upheld on appeal. “Illegal” Bibles were compared to pornography.
by Lei Shihong
Printing Bibles is an activity strictly controlled by the authorities in Xi Jinping’s China. Solving the problem of the limited supply of Bibles by just contacting a printer is not a good idea. Just ask Yang Jianxin, the pastor of a Reformed house church in the county-level city of Lingbao, administered by Sanmenxia city in the central province of Henan.
As a pastor who stubbornly refused to join the government-controlled Three-Self Church, Yang was kept under surveillance for several years, within a local context where a massive campaign of removal of crosses and demolition of churches, which did not even spare those belonging to the Three-Self organization, was started in 2018.
At the beginning of 2021, Yang decided that his congregation needed Bibles, and contacted a local printer. He was quickly detained for “conducting illegal business operations” and “printing and purchasing illegal publications.”
On February 7, Yang was formally arrested. The Lingbao city Procuratorate committed him to trial before the Lingbao Court of Sanmenxia City, Henan.
The Sanmenxia City Intermediate Court has now confirmed the first-degree decision, meaning Pastor Yang should remain in jail until 2026.
The prosecutor mentioned that printing illegal Bibles create an atmosphere of “spiritual pollution,” an expression often used to describe the effects of pornography. It seems that the Bible is regarded as somewhat similar to pornography, or perhaps even more dangerous for the CCP. Those who print Bibles outside of the limited sphere of Party-approved religious publishers may expect to spend long years in jail.