Rev. John Sanqiang Cao breaks ground in Wa State, Myanmar. Ben Cao via AP
The American Center for Law and Justice is calling on the Chinese government to free Pastor John Cao – a lawful U.S. permanent resident – after he was imprisoned on false charges of organizing illegal border crossings.
The organization representing Cao’s family published a petition recently on its website asking for the release of Pastor.
“After decades working in China and Burma (Myanmar), providing for the poor, sharing the love of Christ, and establishing schools for impoverished children, Pastor John was arrested and imprisoned by Chinese authorities as part of their increased crackdown on Christian pastors,” notes the petition.
“Pastor John’s wife and 2 sons (all U.S. citizens from North Carolina) desperately want their father released and returned home to America. Pastor John was unjustly targeted because of his Christian faith and sentenced for seven years. “
“He’s been imprisoned since March 2017. His health is deteriorating, and he’s lost over 50 pounds. He is forced to share a cell, with 12 inmates, and 1 bed. “
The ACLJ claims it has been aggressively working internationally for Cao’s ultimate freedom.
“We’ve mobilized our resources across the globe and are urging China to release Pastor John and allow him to come home to the United States to be reunited with his wife and kids,” it notes.
As of Thursday afternoon, the petition had received 86,187 signatures.
Cao has held U.S. permanent residency since 1990 but kept his Chinese citizenship so that he could continue entering China for his mission work. He was a pastor at a Greensboro church and married an American citizen.
Cao, who was caught by Chinese security forces on March 5, 2017, apparently managed to throw away his cellphone into the water while on a raft returning from Yunnan province as part of his school-building efforts. His efforts protected 50 other Christian teachers, though he himself was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Previously, the pastor revealed that he was inspired by a very famous North Carolinian, namely the late evangelist Billy Graham, whose radio broadcasts stirred in him a desire to minister to the Chinese people.
Jamie Powell, Cao’s wife, recently spoke at the State Department’s first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C.
“It appears to me that John was set up for his arrest because of his faith-driven work,” Powell said at the ministerial. My husband’s health has declined rapidly since his detention. He has lost 50 pounds. He hasn’t been able communicate with my children and me. My sons and I traveled there – 10,000 miles – and we were not allowed to see him,” she added.
” The seven years that he was unjustly given now become a matter for his health and survival. “
In an op-ed for Fox News, ACLJ representative Jordan Sekulow argues Cao “is being imprisoned simply because he is a Christian. “
“The American Center for Law and Justice has been raising alarm about churches being forced to close because of government pressure. “Chinese Christians have been facing increasing arrests for spreading the Gospel,” Sekulow states.
“We’ve taken direct action at the U.N. Human Rights Council, calling attention to China’s persecuted Christians. Through our European affiliate, The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), we recently submitted a legal submission asking for international pressure to China to end its continued crackdown on religious freedom. “
“It seems that Cao is the latest victim in this crackdown against Christianity. Although the pastor and his lawyers have filed an appeal, the appeal has not been heard. The deadline has been repeatedly extended. “
Sekulow continues to state that the ACLJ “actively and aggressively urges the Chinese government to free Cao and allow him return home to the United States so that he can be reunited to his wife and children.” “
“Cao shouldn’t spend another night in prison. He is a Christian who feels a moral duty to help those in need. “
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