A Chinese court has sentenced four Christians to a total of 13 years in prison for running a business that sold Bible audio players.
According to religious liberty magazine, Bitter Winter, the group was first arrested and fined in July 2020 for "conducting illegal business operations."
Fu Hyunjuan, 43, Deng Tianyong, 50, Feng Qunhao, 45, and Han Li, 40 run Life Tree Culture Communications in the southeast city of Shenzhen, which was founded and registered in 2011. It produced and sold electronic players which had the Bible recorded in them.
Fu, as the head of the organisation has been sentenced to six years in prison and fined with 20 million Chinese Yuan (£2 million).
Chinese American pastor, Bob Fu has described it as a "heavy persecution" against Christians.
The group faced a trial in December 2020, but a verdict was not immediately declared. However, their families have now announced the group have received a prison sentence of a total of 13 years and hefty individual fines.
Bitter Winter also reported speaking to a Christian who had been investigated for buying an audio bible online after police found his personal information on the company's sales list.
"They searched his home and questioned him repeatedly on the player's whereabouts," Bitter Winter said.
Crackdown of Christians in China is increasing. Only last month, a pastor became the first Christian leader to be arrested for "unlawfully possessing items that advocate terrorism or extremism."
Speaking to Premier at the time of the pastor's arrest, Christian Solidarity World wide's advocacy officer Jane confirmed the escalation of measures against Chinese Christians.
"We are seeing a huge pressure on the unregistered independent churches to close down completely. We're seeing church leaders being threatened regularly, interrogated by security agents and police because of their religious activities."
China ranks 17th in Open Door's list of countries where Christians are persecuted the most.