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AP Exclusive: Jailed Chinese Pastor’s US Family Seeks Mercy

The Rev. John Sanqiang Cao paid no more than three dollars for the trip that would end up costing him his freedom.

For years, he and fellow Chinese Christian teachers would cross the river on a narrow bamboo raft from a tree-shrouded bank in southern China into neighboring Myanmar, carrying with them notebooks, pencils and Bibles. The journey that enabled the missionaries to slip between the countries — a distance no greater than 9 meters (30 feet) — always happened in broad daylight, according to a U.S.-based missionary who traveled with Cao.

The ride on March 5, 2017, was different. Cao …read more