ACLJ: UN group presses China for pastor's freedom



Wednesday, October 30, 2019

ACLJ
By CeCe Heil

In a major development in the case of imprisoned Christian Pastor John Cao – a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident – the United Nation’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has just released its opinion regarding his wrongful arrest and imprisonment.

The opinion states:

[T]aking into account all of the circumstances of the case, the appropriate remedy would be to release Mr. Cao immediately and accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law.

John Cao
(Photo: Courtesy of Ben Cao)
This is a significant development in his case, as we filed the complaint with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention earlier this year. The opinion supporting our position was adopted during the WGAD’s eighty-fifth session. This is even more weighty considering the fact the WGAD only takes a few cases a year.

The opinion goes even further than demanding Pastor Cao’s release and compensation, it also urges China to investigate “the circumstances surrounding the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Mr. Cao and to take appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of his rights.” It also referred the case to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief for appropriate action.

We are hopeful, that this opinion will be helpful in securing Pastor Cao’s release and return to his family in the United States. Unfortunately, it seems that China is starting to use the same bogus charges they used against Pastor Cao to stifle more religious organizations.

Just recently, 2 U.S. citizens were arrested on the same charges. They both work for an English teaching program that has operated for 17 years in China.

As we have previously informed you, Pastor Cao is a U.S. permanent resident residing in North Carolina, but he is currently languishing behind the bars of a Chinese prison, unfairly serving a 7-year sentence for his faith.

Pastor Cao devoted his life to serving the poor communities of China and Burma (Myanmar), providing supplies, building schools, and sharing the love of Christ. Now he is imprisoned as part of China’s ongoing crackdown against Christian pastors and churches.

We are continuously working in Washington,as well as before international leaders at the U.N., on behalf of Pastor Cao’s family. We recently presented a critical oral intervention to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, urging pressure on China to free Pastor Cao.

As we stated in our intervention:

“This Council should respectfully and firmly remind China of its continuing obligations as a Charter member of the U.N., to ensure its citizens have the rights to freedom of religion and belief, and the right to receive equal treatment under the law.”

While not even the WGAD can force China to free Pastor Cao, this is a big win, and serves as a major persuasive tool in our advocacy with other foreign leaders and with China itself. This could prove to be very helpful in urging the world’s leaders to apply maximum pressure on China to release Pastor Cao and allow him to return to his family and his home in the United States. In past cases, it has been instrumental in securing the release of wrongfully convicted Christians.

The longer he remains imprisoned, the more he is suffering. Pastor Cao is a father and a husband. His family needs him home. We will not stop fighting until that day comes.

But he needs your voice too. Sign our petition.

ChinaAid Note: The original ACLJ article included a petition. For formatting purposes, ChinaAid had to remove the petition, but it can be signed by clicking here.


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