(Photo: Courtesy of Ben Cao)
(Geneva—Oct. 31, 2019) A United Nations group has urged China to release North Carolina Pastor John Cao.
The group, the United Nation’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), has released this statement. In it, the group has said it raised the issue of Cao’s arrest to the Chinese government earlier this year.
The piece went on to call Cao’s imprisonment “unconstitutional” and said it violated a variety of Chinese laws.
Cao and his colleague, Jing Ruxia, were taken into custody when they crossed the border between Myanmar and China in March 2017. Cao was well-regarded for establishing schools for minority children along the border. He was charged with “organizing illegal border crossings” and sentenced to seven years in prison.
Jing received a one-year sentence and has been released.
WGAD’s piece claimed Cao’s arrest was because of his Christian faith, citing concerns that an official had ordered his arrest. It also said, “ … at the time of Mr. Cao’s arrest, there were approximately a dozen people who crossed the border at the same time as him. Yet, only the two Christians were arrested and criminally prosecuted. As such, Mr. Cao’s arrest and the charges against him were because of his Christian faith.”
The ACLJ has launched a petition calling for Cao’s release. To sign it, please click here.