Christian Pastor John Cao Marks Third Year in Chinese Prison as Fears of Coronavirus Grow With His Compromised Health
A single day behind bars for being a Christian is one day too many. Christian Pastor John Cao – a U.S. permanent resident – has now been a prisoner in China for THREE YEARS.
And now he faces a potential new threat to his safety.
Pastor Cao spent decades serving the impoverished of China and Burma (Myanmar) providing supplies and much-needed education until he was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to seven years in prison as part of China’s callous crackdown on Christian pastors and churches.
On March 5, 2017, Pastor Cao was arrested by Chinese authorities as he returned to China from a trip to Burma. That was his last moment as a free man.
He has spent the last three years detained in China and was held for 6 months before being formally charged. He was ultimately sentenced to seven years in prison. Pastor Cao’s health has suffered during his incarceration.
And now, making matters worse, fears of the Coronavirus in the prison have resulted in limited visitation – even limited phone calls.
As reported by Chinese media:
Ministry of Justice officials said on Friday that more than 500 prisoners in five prisons in three provinces had contracted the virus, which has so far
Enough is enough. Pastor Cao’s health has already been compromised as a result of this injustice – now his life could very well be in danger. He did not deserve imprisonment for living out his faith, and he most certainly doesn’t deserve a death sentence.
Even Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, has agreed to temporarily release 54,000 prisoners amid the threat of Coronavirus. We would surely hope that China would rather be considered more humane than Iran. Especially in the case of prisoners such as Pastor Cao who it only holds because of his faith.
The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has condemned Pastor Cao’s imprisonment and requested his immediate release in its official opinion adopted in September of 2019. The Working Group cited that it believed Pastor Cao was only arrested and charged because of his faith:
It is clear to the Working Group that Mr. Cao was singled out due to his Christian faith and that the Measures were implemented against him in a manner that constituted profiling and discrimination on the basis of Mr. Cao’s religious identity.
This sort of targeted religious persecution by ANY government cannot be tolerated.
He must be freed NOW, before it’s too late.
The ACLJ will continue to fight on his behalf, especially in light of this new threat, urging international leaders to put maximum pressure on China to free Pastor Cao.
Take action with us. Pray for Pastor Cao and his family. Pray for his safety and his health. Pray for strength for the family. And pray that justice finally prevails and he is allowed to come home.
And finally, sign our petition demanding his freedom.