Christian pastor and humanitarian worker John Cao – a U.S. permanent resident – devoted the last 30 years of his life to serving the poor of China and Burma (Myanmar). Until, as we reported, he was arrested in March of 2017 by Chinese security agents and imprisoned as part of a targeted government crackdown on Christian pastors and church members.
This is a mockery of justice and a violation of China’s own U.N. charter. No one should spend a single day behind bars for living out their faith.
We just took direct action at the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) through our European affiliate office, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), presenting a critical oral intervention on behalf of Pastor Cao at the UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland, urging international action to obtain his freedom. We stated:
China is home to over 1.4 billion people. The principal religions of China are Buddhism and Taoism, and experts estimate that Christians only represent about 5 to 7% of the total population. In its January 2020 report, human rights group, Open Doors, ranked China as the 23rd worst place in the world for Christians to live.
The case of Pastor Cao, who has been wrongfully imprisoned for over 3 years, is an example of the increasingly harsh treatment and wrongful imprisonment Christians in China are facing today.
Pastor Cao, a U.S. lawful permanent resident for over 30 years, has also faithfully served the people of China for over two decades as a missionary. Pastor Cao conducted his commendable humanitarian work openly and without incident until March of 2017, when he was wrongfully targeted, arrested, convicted, and sentenced to seven years in prison.
On August 2019, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopted an Opinion (Opinion No. 35/2019) regarding Pastor Cao’s unlawful detention and noted that “his arrest was carried out in a manner that singled out Mr. Cao on the basis of his religion,” and was a clear violation of articles 7 and 19 of the UDHR [Universal Declaration of Human Rights]. The Working Group requested that the Government of China “remedy the situation of Mr. Cao without delay.” Further stating that “the appropriate remedy would be to release Mr. Cao immediately and accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law.”
To date, Pastor Cao remains in Kunming's prison.
Pastor Cao must be immediately released.
Pastor Cao is another innocent pawn in China’s campaign to push Christianity out of its country and replace it with government dogma. The Bible – which we’ve told you China has banned from being sold online as they work to alter it to a state-approved message – states in Exodus 20:3, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” It would appear China wants its people to have no other gods before the state itself. And it will harass and even imprison any who teach otherwise.
We’ve previously informed you that hundreds of Chinese Christians have been detained simply for their faith. 27 Christians were given harsh sentences of 13 years for sharing the gospel. That is not only unjust, it’s inhumane - especially now with recent reports of the COVID-19 virus ravaging Chinese prison facilities and infecting hundreds of prisoners.
Earlier this month, we told you that we delivered a written intervention on behalf of Pastor Cao and every persecuted Christian in China, demanding intervention. Our work to defend persecuted Christians around the world cannot stop.
Pastor Cao’s health has already been compromised during his incarceration. Enough is Enough! He is an innocent man who was working, through his humanitarian efforts, to serve the needy and make a better world.
We urge the UNHRC to take immediate action to pressure China to honor its obligations under the UDHR, heed the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s opinion and free Pastor Cao and allow him to come home to his family in America.
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