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The Pu'er Intermediate People's Court in the Chinese Yunnan province, uphold Pastor John Cao’s seven-year prison sentence on July, 25, despite his appeal.

The Pu'er Intermediate People's Court in the Chinese Yunnan province, uphold Pastor John Cao’s seven-year prison sentence on July, 25, despite his appeal.

The Pu'er Intermediate People's Court in the Chinese Yunnan province, uphold Pastor John Cao’s seven-year prison sentence on July, 25, despite his appeal.

He he was arrested on March 5, 2017, charged with “organizing illegal border crossings”, a charge normally used to convict human traffickers, and has been in prison since then.

Cao is a U.S. permanent resident and has served as a pastor to two Chinese-American congregations in North Carolina.

He has also worked in Central and Southern China for over two decades, establishing Bible schools, and in 2013 started providing humanitarian aid to the Wa people near the Myanmar-China border.

Cao and his team have established 16 schools to help educate more than 2.000 children in that area. Part of the school’s curriculum was taken directly from the Bible, and Pastor Cao recruited Christian teachers to share the gospel with both students and their parents.

The ruling comes after the Pu’er Court illegally and repeatedly extended the appeal deadline for over a year, and 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.

Although it was a public announcement, the Court only allowed Pastor Cao’s mother and sister to hear the verdict, along with their lawyer. The court was “surrounded by a heavy police presence”, China Aid informs.