Fu Xuanjuan is executive director of Shenzhen Tree of Life Technology Development Company, which sells audio Bible players. Chinese Communist Party authorities regard manufacturing and selling Bible players as “illegal business operations” and Fu is serving a six-year prison sentence. She is due for release in July 2026.
LATEST NEWS (JULY 2023): Fu Xuanjuan’s husband Deng Tianyong, who worked for the same company, was released on 1 July 2023 after serving a three-year prison sentence on the same charge of “illegal business operations“.
Fu Xuanjuan (45) is originally from the port city of Beihai in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region but now lives in Shenzhen city in neighbouring Guangdong province. She is executive director and legal representative of Shenzhen Tree of Life Technology Development Company, which sells audio Bible players – small digital devices that store and play sermons and hymns as well as Bibles. The players are convenient, simple to operate and have become very popular in China, especially among older Christians.
On 2 July 2020 police from the Bao’an branch of the Shenzhen Municipal Police Department seized Fu, her husband Deng Tianyong (52), who also worked for the company, and their colleagues Feng Qunhao (47) and Han Li (42) at Henglin Plaza, Bao’an district on suspicion of “illegal business operations” for selling audio Bible players. They were placed in criminal detention the following day.
As China Aid’s Yu Bing explains, “In their efforts to crack down on Christianity, Chinese Communist Party authorities continue to regard manufacturing and selling the Bible players as ‘illegal business operation.’” Bibles may only be sold through state-sanctioned churches in China.
Deng Tianyong was responsible for reviewing and managing content for the Bible players, company technician Feng Qunhao was responsible for copying content and providing after-sales service, and accountant and receptionist Han Li managed the company’s finances and was responsible for packaging and delivering the players.
On 6 August 2020 Bao’an police officially arrested the four Christians, charged them with “illegal business operations” and detained them at Jiuwei Detention Centre in Shenzhen’s Bao’an district. CCP officials threatened the four detainees and their families and lawyers not to disclose the case status.
Bao’an District People’s Court tried the four Christians on 27 November 2020 and again on 9 December 2020. The written prosecution stated that police carried out a search of the company premises and that “The policemen then found out that the company was engaging in the retail business activities of electronic publications without authorisation. The Public Security Bureau then brought four personnel suspected of ‘unlawful business operation’ for investigation.” It went on to state that “Fu Xuanjuan admitted that the business activities of Shenzhen’s Tree of Life Technological Development Co. Ltd did not obtain a permit from the relevant department of China Culture Publishing House” and concluded that “Criminal suspects Fu Xuanjuan; Deng Tianyong; Feng Qunhao; Han Li confessed to the suspicions of ‘unlawful business operation,’ plead guilty and accept punishment.”
Bao’an District People’s Court found the four Christians guilty and on 16 July 2021 it sentenced Fu to six years in prison and a fine of 200,000 yuan (approximately €26,000), Deng to three years and a fine of 50,000 yuan (€6,470), Feng to two years and six months and a fine of 30,000 yuan (€3,900) and Han to one year and three months and a fine of 10,000 yuan (€1,300). The Court also confiscated all six models of the Bible players and six computers.
Fu, Deng and Feng lost their appeals on 16 December 2021 in Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court; Han had been released on 1 October 2021 after completing her 15-month sentence.
The appeal court verdict read, “After investigation, based on the testimonies of the appellant and the defendants of the First Instance, along with evidence such as the witnesses’ testimonies and audit reports, it is confirmed that from Jan 2018 to June 2020, Shenzhen City Life Tree Technology Development company illegally sold audio players with Bible or other religious content and obtained CNY 3661847.84 [approximately €473,000] of profits.”
Deng was released on 1 July 2023 after serving his three-year sentence, but China Aid reported: “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.” Feng was also released after serving his sentence.
Fu’s husband Deng Tianyong was released from prison on 1 July 2023 after serving his three-year sentence for selling audio Bible players. He returned to Shaxi in Guangdong’s Zhongshan city (where he lived before moving to Shenzhen) and was reported to be in good spirits although he had lost a lot of weight. Deng is a former drug addict who was completely changed by becoming a Christian and recovered from his drug addiction.
2 July 2020 Bao’an police seized Fu Xuanjuan, her husband Deng Tianyong and their colleagues Feng Qunhao and Han Li, who all worked at Shenzhen Tree of Life Technology Development Company, on suspicion of “illegal business operations” for selling Bible audio players.
3 July 2020 Fu, Deng, Feng and Han were placed in criminal detention.
6 August 2020 Bao’an police officially arrested the four Christians and charged them with “illegal business operations”.
27 November 2020 The Christians’ trial was held at Bao’an District People’s Court.
9 December 2020 The trial of Fu, Deng, Feng and Han continued.
16 July 2021 Bao’an District People’s Court sentenced Fu to six years in prison and a fine of 200,000 yuan (€26,000) and sentenced the three other defendants to shorter prison terms and lower fines. The Court also confiscated Bible players and computers.
16 December 2021 Fu, Deng and Feng lost their appeals in Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court. Han had been released on 1 October 2021 after completing her 15-month sentence.
1 July 2023 Deng Tianyong was released after serving his three-year sentence. Feng Qunhao had already been released.
(China Aid, International Christian Concern)