❗️Update: Pastor John Cao's trial in China has now been delayed for two more months, until March 2019. Sometimes China waits for people to forget. Don't. - 2019.01.24
(Pu’er Yunnan—December 5, 2018) Officials in China’s Yunnan province postponed until January 22, 2019 the sentencing appeal originally scheduled this month for Pastor John Cao, a Chinese pastor who was convicted of a human trafficking-related offense in 2017 for crossing the border in his work planting schools in Myanmar.
Pastor John Cao
Pastor Cao undertook the first of his China/Myanmar crossings to visit Myanmar’s Kachin people, a persecuted Christian minority, in 2012. According to Christianity Today, Jamie Powell, Pastor Cao’s American wife, explained that during this visit Pastor Cao
“was shocked by the poverty he saw: Children without clothes, high child mortality rates, and a makeshift school with a pigpen adjacent to the classroom.”
Prior to his 2012 visit to Myanmar, Pastor Cao had established two schools in China. Cao reported that this had been a source of friction with the Chinese government, which he tried to allay by turning the schools over to the government to own and operate. Since 2012, through multiple visits from China to Myanmar, Pastor Cao established sixteen schools that serve more than 2,000 impoverished local minority children. During this time, Pastor Cao crossed the border from China into Myanmar without restriction. Then on March 5, 2017, Pastor Cao was arrested and charged with “organizing illegal crossings of national borders.
“This charge is normally used to prosecute human traffickers,” Voice of the Martyrs representative Hyun Sook Foley says. “Clearly Pastor Cao is not a human trafficker. He is, however, well-known for his work with the Chinese house church, and most people aware of the case point to this as the reason for his imprisonment and the delay in the court hearing his appeal.”
Representative Foley adds that Voice of the Martyrs Korea and their partners have seen a consistent increase in persecution during the holiday season.
“Persecuting governments like China count on Christians being too occupied with their own private Christmas celebrations to pay attention to injustices committed against their brothers and sisters,” Representative Foley explains. “One of the best ways to remember the birth of Christ, then, is to remember those who are suffering for Christ during this season.”
Foley reports that the most effective way for Christians in other countries to help prisoners like Pastor Cao is to send letters to the prison.
“Sometimes prison officials let prisoners see the letters, but sometimes they don’t,” Representative Foley says. “But either way, prison officials and political authorities always take note and proceed more carefully when letters pour into a prison on behalf of a prisoner.”
For this reason, Representative Foley is requesting Korean Christians to send Pastor Cao a Christmas letter this week. She says, “Pastor Cao can read English, so you can either write a letter to him in English, Chinese, or you can copy either the English or Korean message written below.” Representative Foley is hoping to see more than a thousand letters sent by Korean Christians before Pastor Cao’s appeal is heard on January 22.
저는 목사님의 믿음에 관하여 들었을 때 목사님께 감사했습니다. 목사님을 핍박하는 사람들이 눈과 귀와 마음을 주님께 열기를 기도합니다.
“그리스도를 위하여 너희에게 은혜를 주신 것은 다만 그를 믿을 뿐 아니라
또한 그를 위하여 고난도 받게 하려 하심이라” (빌 1:29).
목사님은 그리스도를 믿는 것뿐 아니라 그분을 위해 고난받는 것도 허락받으셨습니다.
“생각하건대 현재의 고난은 장차 우리에게 나타날 영광과 비교할 수 없도다”(롬 8:18).
I gave thanks for you when I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray the eyes, ears and hearts of those who persecute you may open to Jesus. Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake. Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.