Church in Chains, October 19, 2023 (excerpts)
News has emerged that Deng Tianyong (52), was released from prison on 1 July after serving a 3-year sentence for selling audio Bible players. He returned to his hometown of Shaxi in Guangdong province and is reported to be in good spirits although he has lost a lot of weight.
China Aid reports, “After his release, he did not seem to be free. He never answered phone calls from close friends. Friends speculate that he, like other Christians released from prison, may have been instructed by police not to contact any Christians.” Deng is an employee of Shenzhen Tree of Life Technology Company, which sells Bible players – small digital playback devices that store sermons and hymns as well as audio Bibles.
The players are convenient, simple to operate and have become very popular in China. The Chinese government has made the manufacture and sale of Bible players an “illegal business” offence.
The executive director and legal representative of the company was Deng’s wife Fu Xianjuan, who is serving a six-year prison sentence and is not due for release until July 2026.
Deng is a former drug addict, of whom China Aid writes: “It was the Christian faith that completely changed him, so that he not only successfully recovered from drugs, but also became a God-fearing man.” His lawyer visited him during his imprisonment and reportedly led him in worship.