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China: American pastor sentenced to 7 years in prison

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An American Christian pastor John Sanqiang Cao has been handed a seven year imprisonment sentence in China. He was convicted of “organizing others to illegally cross the border”- a crime linked with human trafficking.

Christian persecution in China

Chinese authorities have not allowed his friends and family to contact him since his arrest. Pastor Cao embraced Christianity while he was in his 20s and attended a Bible College in New York. He is married and his family permanently lives in North Carolina. Details have this that in March 2017, Pastor Cao and his friend crossed from China into Myanmar using a bamboo raft.

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Pastor Cao and his friend carried Bibles, notebooks, pencils, food and other supplies etc. for people of Myanmar. He was arrested by Chinese authorities who maintained that he was smuggling Bibles into China. When the authorities arrested him, pastor Cao secretly threw his cell phone in water in order to protect contact details of more than 50 Chinese Christian teachers.

Pastor Cao’s son, Ben told CBN News: “My father, being a Christian minister, he knew what he was getting himself into and he often took pride in the risk that he might one day become a martyr for his beliefs.”

“Nothing my father organized was ever political. It was always just religious or charitable. We hope that China will be merciful, and see that my father’s intentions were good.” Ben said that he was hopeful when he heard about release of Pastor Andrew Brunson who was detained by Turkish authorities.

Referring to Pastor Brunson, Ben wrote to HuffPost: “I understand the circumstances are different for my [family’s] situation, but I hope we are not overlooked nor forgotten. Our story deserves to be told, and I believe that the American public will agree that the US Government should be more outspoken about the situation.”