The systematic persecution of the Christian Church in China continues, as they have unjustly convicted and are holding a Christian Pastor behind bars.
China’s justice system has yet again delayed the deadline to hear the appeal of Christian Pastor John Cao, a U.S. legal permanent resident wrongfully imprisoned on what amounts to absurd human trafficking charges.
The appeal hearing for Pastor John was supposed to be held before November 27, 2018, but instead of complying with that deadline, the court has once again arbitrarily postponed the deadline to January 22nd – almost a two month delay.
Now Pastor John could spend Christmas in prison – locked in an overcrowded cell with a dozen inmates and only one 26 ft. slab for a bed.
We’ve told you how Pastor John has worked in and around China for over two decades, establishing Bible schools focused on education and mission work.
Pastor John provided humanitarian aid to the Wa people in Northern Burma near the Burma-China border, supplying food and basic necessities to the severely impoverished area.
Pastor John also established schools to serve students from these disadvantaged areas, giving them a chance at bettering their lives. Remarkably, in a mere three years, Pastor John oversaw the building of 16 schools serving more than 2,000 students.
Now, this pastor who peacefully devoted his life to serving the Church in China has been sentenced to 7 years in prison.
As Pastor John’s Chinese attorney has stated, he’s done nothing illegal. He has merely lived out his faith in Jesus Christ.
"Based on my thorough review and investigation of this case, I truly believe Pastor John Cao is innocent," Li said. "He was wrongfully convicted and punished for saving lives and providing education for the poor." . . .
“[W]e think the law should not punish people like Pastor Cao who have been doing humanitarian work. . . . If the government is sincere about building the rule of law, the court should allow us to present our evidence and give us a chance to cross-examine the prosecution and their witnesses, and then set Pastor John Cao free. Unfortunately, to date we are not able to do that. The court under pressure refuses to follow the stipulated legal procedures and admit our evidence and rebuttals. Clearly we are far away even from a country with rule by law, not to mention rule of law.”
We’ve told you about China’s mass crackdown on Christian groups across its Yunnan Province where more than 200 people were detained for “organizing evil cults and sects and using superstition to obstruct law enforcement.”
27 of them have been unjustly sentenced to harsh prison sentences of up to 13 years, simply for preaching the Gospel.
Just days ago, Chinese police raided one of the most prominent urban churches in China – the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. Police arrested the senior pastor, his wife, and elders and deacons of the church, and many of the church congregants are under house arrest. Furthermore, members of the church were forced by police to sign a statement promising that they will no longer attend the church. And it appears that this particular attack is not yet over.
For years, the ACLJ has been utilizing our international resources to fight to protect persecuted Christians in China. Our UPR report on China, submitted to the U.N. by our European affiliate – the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) – highlighted that in 2017 alone our contacts in China received and collected information on roughly 600 incidents of persecution targeting Christians.
Christians all over the world should be free to teach, worship, and live out their Christian faith without fear of persecution or imprisonment – including in China.
We are representing Pastor John’s family – working alongside the highest levels of government asking for global pressure to urge the Chinese government to release Pastor John and allow him to come home to America to his heartbroken family.
Pastor John does not deserve to spend Christmas in prison.
Join with the nearly 100,000 supporters who have signed our urgent petition demanding Pastor John’s freedom. Your voice can make a huge difference as we advocate for his freedom.
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