Christians/China June 2020 Declaration
Oral Declaration delivered during the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council, in Geneva, June 2020.
China is home to over 1.4 billion people. The principal religions of China are Buddhism and Taoism, and experts estimate that Christians only represent about 5 to 7% of the total population. In its January 2020 report, human rights group, Open Doors, ranked China as the 23rd worst place in the world for Christians to live.
The case of Pastor Cao, who has been wrongfully imprisoned for over 3 years, is an example of the increasingly harsh treatment and wrongful imprisonment Christians in China are facing today.
Pastor Cao, a U.S. lawful permanent resident for over 30 years, has also faithfully served the people of China for over two decades as a missionary. Pastor Cao conducted his commendable humanitarian work openly and without incident until March of 2017, when he was wrongfully targeted, arrested, convicted, and sentenced to seven years in prison.
On August 2019, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopted an Opinion (35/2019) regarding Pastor Cao’s unlawful detention and noted that “his arrest was carried out in a manner that singled out Mr. Cao on the basis of his religion,” and was a clear violation of articles 7 and 19 of the UDHR. The Working Group requested that the Government of China “remedy the situation of Mr. Cao without delay.” Further stating that “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.”
To date, Pastor Cao remains in Kunming prison. Pastor Cao must be immediately released.