Sentence Upheld After Repeated Delays on Appeal Hearing
07/25/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on July 25, a court in China’s Yunnan province announced its decision to uphold Pastor John Cao’s seven-year prison sentence, despite his appeal. Pastor Cao filed an appeal for being wrongfully convicted for “organizing illegal border crossings” in 2018. However, the Chinese government has postponed his appeal hearing seven times. Many believe that he was unjustly targeted due to his Christian faith.
In photos shared by China Aid, the court can be seen heavily guarded by the police today. Only Cao’s 83-year-old mother and his sister, along with their lawyer, were allowed to hear the verdict.
The court’s latest verdict came after Pastor Cao’s lawyers received a notice on July 12, stating that Cao’s appeal would be handled via a “trial session on paper only,” instead of an actual hearing.
Pastor Cao dedicated himself to serving the impoverished people of Myanmar’s self-governed Wa State, providing much needed education and humanitarian aid to them before his 2017 arrest.
Father Francis Liu from Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness said on Twitter, “Although we have been praying for Pastor Cao, I also know that the CCP will not let him go, as was predetermined by their anti-Christ nature. It’s not possible for us to place our hope in CCP to uphold justice.”
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said, “The unjust trial and trumped up charges against Pastor John Cao once again demonstrate the disregard for rule of law and religious freedom in China. Beijing’s crackdown against Christianity should not be tolerated or ignored. The international community must continue speaking out for oppressed churches and Christians in order to stop their suffering.”
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