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Christian Pastor John Cao Faces Major Setback as Chinese Authorities Refuse To Issue Him a Legally Required Chinese ID, Preventing Him From Obtaining Medical Care


Jordan Sekulow

June 13

3 min read

Persecuted Church



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Christian Pastor John Cao continues to face what amounts to wrongful detainment for his Christian faith in China.

After seven years behind bars, Pastor John Cao, a U.S. permanent resident, was finally released from a Chinese prison after serving his entire wrongful sentence. However, despite being “set free,” Pastor Cao still can’t leave China and return to his family in America. In fact, Chinese authorities refuse to issue him a Chinese ID, which is not only legally required, but necessary to obtain even the basic necessity of medical care or access public transportation. Pastor Cao has lived out his faith in China for decades. He was even commended by the Chinese government for his selfless work, as they realized the benefit of education and the building of schools. However, the government started seeing Christianity – simply loving others and providing for their needs – as a threat. So after decades of serving peacefully, Pastor Cao was targeted and arrested while building schools in Burma. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, and the ACLJ has worked relentlessly on behalf of his family for over five years to try to obtain his freedom.

We even sent a letter to the Biden Administration demanding pressure on China to release him. And as we told you, even the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention determined that his arrest and imprisonment were erroneous and called for his release. Yet Pastor Cao remained in prison and served his entire seven-year sentence.

While this would typically be the end of the story, unfortunately for Pastor Cao, the story does not end here. In China, there is a law requiring citizens to have a Chinese ID. In addition to being a legal requirement, it is also needed to travel, bank, and even receive medical treatment. However, despite serving his full sentence and leaving prison, Pastor Cao has not been issued his Chinese ID. As you can imagine, that makes life very treacherous for him. He cannot travel within China and cannot even get medical treatment when needed, not to mention that he is legally required to have it.

Pastor Cao simply wants to comply with the laws of China; however, he is unable to do so because the authorities won’t grant him an ID. By having his ID withheld, Pastor Cao is being forced into a position where his very presence is a violation, though he willingly wishes to follow the law. We are hopeful that China will do the right thing and grant Pastor Cao his ID; but in the three months since his release from prison, he has yet to be granted it.

Pastor Cao needs prayer for protection and for justice. Over 300,000 of you have signed our petition demanding justice for Pastor Cao, but we need more voices. Please, if you haven’t signed our petition yet, consider doing so today. We will keep fighting until Pastor Cao is truly free and reunited with his wife and sons in the United States.

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