Even US citizenship is no protection for pastors in China. One pastor, Michael Yu, who led a large Baptist church in California, was detained, interrogated then barred from returning to the US. He was eventually released after a campaign by Release International’s partner China Aid. But another pastor, John Cao, is still being held. His crime? Building schools for children displaced by war.

As Bob Fu from China Aid explained Andrew Boyd…


Bob Fu, President of China Aid: Pastor Michael Yu had been an immigrant to the US from Taiwan for over 30 years. He used to pastor a very large Chinese Baptist Church in Orange County, California. He, in recent t years he had been ministering to Chinese Christian business leaders.

In March of this year, after he finished meeting with some Chinese Christian business leaders in Shanghai, he was detained by the state security agents. Then he suffered a number of rounds of interrogations. He was then banned from travelling back home to the United States. He is an American citizen. We launched an appeal for him, both publicly and also briefing the White House and State Department senior officials, so the US government had very actively engaged in promoting for his freedom in advocating for his release.

Andrew Boyd: You must be very pleased he is now free?

Bob: We are very, very thankful and glad that he has finally got home.

Andrew: Are there any other cases you like to highlight?

Bob: Yes. I’d like to highlight the case of Pastor John Cao, another Chinese-American pastor. He came to the US as a student studying theology and got married to a caucasian American wife and had two children.

He could have lived a very comfortable life, by continuing his American dream; he chose to be that  senior pastor in a very large Chinese church in North Carolina, and yet he felt called by the Lord to go back to China.

He spent at least half a year in China, ministering to the house church in China. And a few years ago he travelled to the Burma side of China, to the Burma border, and met this group of Kachin minority people. So this group of people were being persecuted by the Burmese military government. They were bombed and cornered into the mountainous area.

And when Pastor John Cao went there and saw these thousands of children who were barefooted with no clothes and no education at all, running around, he felt the Macedonian call, basically felt the Lord calling him to help them.

So he mobilised house churches in China and America and established 16 schools for 2,000 children, and yet the Chinese security officers arrested him three years ago and then sentenced him to seven years in prison. So he has been suffering enormously.

He has already lost 30lbs because of malnourishment in prison, and he is 60 years old already.

His American wife had travelled to China to the prison wall where John, her husband, was imprisoned. But she was forbidden from even having a meeting with her husband. Her mother and all her family members were prevented from meeting with him.

So we need to really pray for this bold evangelist, this never ashamed of the gospel worker for the kingdom of God, and a real champion for the mission China. Pray for him and support his family and support family, visitation after his been transferred to prison from the detention centre recently. That’s my prayer request.