North Carolina pastor's appeal hearing postponed for sixth time



Thursday, March 21, 2019

John Cao
(Photo: courtesy of Ben Cao)
ChinaAid

(Pu’er, Yunnan—March 21, 2019) Chinese officials postponed the appeal hearing of an imprisoned North Carolina pastor a sixth time recently, a full year after the defendant first submitted the case.

John Cao, a Chinese pastor from North Carolina known for his mission work in Myanmar, currently serves a seven-year sentence on an “organizing illegal border crossings” charge. He was taken into custody in March 2017 as he and his colleague, Jing Ruxia, rafted across the China-Myanmar border. However, Cao had frequently made such crossings with the knowledge of the authorities due to the nature of his ministry work, and this was the first time they intervened.

Last year, Cao received a seven-year prison sentence, and he decided to appeal. However, the Pu’er Court, which is responsible for handling the case, postponed the appeal hearing six times. It is now scheduled for May 22.

While in custody, Cao’s health has rapidly deteriorated. He suffers from hemorrhoids and constipation and has even lost half of a tooth in addition to his lack of exposure to sunshine. Cao’s lawyer, Yang Hui, fears that the court’s extension of the case may further risk his client’s health.

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