Pastor John Cao | China 

On March 5, 2017, police arrested Cao San-Qiang (John Cao), a Chinese pastor known for his work among Myanmar’s poor. Authorities charged Pastor Cao with “organizing illegal crossings of national borders” and, one year later, sentenced him to seven years in prison.

Pastor Cao, 58, is married to an American citizen and is a long-time resident of North Carolina. The pastor, who is currently being held in the Menglian Detention Center, had been crossing the border between China and Myanmar for three years without incident and with the knowledge of Chinese officials. In the Wa State of northern Myanmar, Pastor Cao helped build 16 schools that serve 2,000 impoverished children. He also established educational projects to help alleviate poverty among local minority groups. 

Experts believe his arrest and sentencing are related to the ruling Communist Party’s attempts to control the house church movement.

Pastor Cao became a believer in his 20s. After he married an American citizen, attended seminary and settled in the U.S., he felt led to return as a missionary to his home country of China. He worked for many years establishing schools in China before turning his attention to neighboring Myanmar in 2014. According to his son, his work in Myanmar was much more humanitarian than his previous work with the house churches in China. Please pray for the pastor’s wife, Jamie Powell, and their sons, Benjamin and Amos.  

Prison Address

Pastor John Sanqiang Cao
Kunming Prison of Yunnan Province
No 416 Si Wa Lu, Wang Da Qiao
Dongjiao, Panong District
Kunming City, Yunnan Province
China 650216


John Cao | A visit from his mother

A Visit from His Mother – August 2020 Pastor John Cao was able to meet with his mother a few days ago. Because of the pandemic, his mother was only able to see him via video link, but she said John looks fine. He told her he prays daily for his brothers and sisters in […]

Posted in John Cao | Comments Off on John Cao | A visit from his mother

John Cao Update

On July 25, 2019, a court in Yunnan upheld Pastor John Cao’s seven-year sentence after a farce of an appeal process. The decision was handed down in a court surrounded by heavy police presence. Only Cao’s 83-year-old mother and her sister, along with their lawyer, were allowed to hear the verdict. In August, John was transferred […]

Posted in John Cao | Comments Off on John Cao Update

New Prisoner – Pastor John Cao | China

Posted in John Cao, New, Updates | Comments Off on New Prisoner – Pastor John Cao | China

Time in prison:

In prison for 1507 days

Family situation

Pastor John is married.

Charged with:

“organizing illegal crossings of national borders”

Create a print-friendly version of this profile:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Print a pre-formatted letter for this Prisoner of Faith:

Other steps you can take to help:

Write to the Embassy in NZ about this case

(please read our writing guidelines before contacting any embassy or high commission on behalf of a prisoner)

Address: 2-6 Glenmore Street, Kelburn, Wellington, New Zealand

Postal address: PO Box 17-257, Karori, Wellington, New Zealand


Share about this prisoner on your social networks