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North Carolina Resident to Stand Trial in China on Friday, Feb 9

ChinaAid: A court in China’s southern Yunnan province announced plans to try a U.S. resident and his colleague on Friday after holding them in custody for a nearly a year.

The Menglian County Court in Pu’er, Yunnan, will try Pastor John Cao and his colleague, Jing Ruxia, on Feb. 9. Officials accused both of illegal border crossing on March 5, 2017, when they passed from Myanmar into China after serving impoverished minority children in the area.

On March 25, 2017, their charges were changed to “organizing illegal border crossing,” even though the Myanmar-China border never before implemented strict regulations. Just two months later, Cao’s mother received an indictment notice from the police indicating that his case had been transferred to the Procuratorate for prosecution, officially moving it out of the investigation phase.

Pastor Cao married an American citizen, Jamie Powell, in 1988. Powell and the couple’s two sons still reside in the United States. Over the past three years, he built 16 schools that serve more than 2,000 ethnic minority children in Myanmar. He is well-renowned in the region for his service, and his work is entirely humanitarian, not illegal, and he has passed through the border many times before with no significant incident.