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May 20th, 2012
07:13 AM ET

Texas pastor behind blind Chinese activist freedom

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – It has been a busy week for Pastor "Bob" Xiqiu Fu, a pastor from Midland, Texas, who has spent considerable time on the international stage working for the release of Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese activist who arrived in the United States on Saturday after weeks of diplomatic back and forth between two global super powers.

Weeks ago, when Chen escaped from house arrest by jumping over a high wall and hiding out in a pig sty, Fu was the first to know.

Chinese activists arrives in U.S.

When Congress called two hearings in 10 days to address Chen's situation, Fu was front and center.

Both times, Chen called Fu's cell phone and he translated for the Congressional hearings, and the English speaking world, the concerns of the blind activist for his extended family.

"It's really an answer to prayer," Fu told CNN of Chen's arrival to the United States.

Fu said he talked with Chen six times before the latter boarded a flight from Beijing to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

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"He sounded very upbeat but concerned about his other extended family members he is leaving behind who are facing some real serious retribution from the local authorities," Fu said.

Fu is the president of ChinaAid, a Christian human rights organization that has been campaigning for Chen's freedom.

On Tuesday, Fu was in Washington, D.C. He began his day at an event with former President George W. Bush, who name-dropped Fu from the podium at an event billed as a Celebration of Human Freedom.

Fu sat in the front row between Bush and his wife Laura. His job was to introduce the former First Lady.

Mrs. Bush spoke glowingly of how Fu had helped secure a notebook with the book of Revelation hand copied by Chinese prisoners for the Freedom Collection at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

Fu took the chance behind the podium to share his personal story, telling how he was a student leader in 1989 at Tiananmen Square, then became a pastor of a house church in China.

After he and his wife were arrested for "illegal evangelism," they fled to Hong Kong in 1996.

From there, they immigrated to the United States and ended up in "dusty" Midland, Texas, where in 2002 they founded ChinaAid.

The group focuses on "exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused, and spiritually and legally equipping the leaders to defend their faith and freedom," according to a statement on its website.

In Chen's case, that has meant being fully engaged with campaigning for his freedom.

After the event with Bush, Fu headed to the Rayburn House Office Building to appear in front of a subcommittee hearing on human rights to discuss the Chen case.

Before it began, Chinese journalists and members of the international media peppered Fu with questions about Chen's condition and whether or not he would be calling into the hearing.

Fu smiled and answered their questions, alternating between Chinese and English, and said he had lost contact with Chen since the previous night.

Once the hearing got underway, Fu slipped out into the hallway with a staff member from Rep. Chris Smith's office. A swam of reporters and photographers promptly followed him into the hallway.

Fu and the staff member slipped into a back room. A few moments later, Fu's assistant slipped out and motioned to the reporters to go back into the hearing room, indicating Fu had connected with Chen again.

For the second time in 10 days, Fu took to the dais with Smith, holding up his cell phone and translating questions to Chen and relaying his answers.

"They're doing fine, especially my two children," Chen said on the phone through Fu. "They kept telling my wife and I that this is such a wonderful place, we can play outside. And he said you can tell from my wife and I how terrible they had been back to our home town. They were only allowed to have one hour outing every day," the activist described of his family's time in a Beijing hospital.

He also explained that Chinese authorities were harassing his extended family in Shandong Province in eastern China.

"My elder brother was taken away by these thugs without any reasoning and then they came back and started beating up my nephew, and they used stakes and violently beat him up," Chen told the House Foreign Affairs Committee from his hospital room.

As he spoke, the room leaned in, intently listening to the international drama unfolding in the committee hearing room.

When the hearing ended, Fu came back out to answer more questions from reporters.

When asked what it was like to be in the middle of a diplomatic struggle between two countries he said, "(Chen) as a blind man was willing to risk his own life and his family paid such a heavy price, what about ours who are living in the free world? We have the freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression. I think we should not (remain) silent in facing this evil."

As Chen was heading to the United States to begin a new chapter in his life, Fu said he was deeply grateful for the international community's efforts to secure his freedom - efforts that tested U.S. relations with the Communist giant.

"We are happy for Chen and his family. This is a great day for freedom fighters," Fu said in a statement to the media.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • China • Christianity

soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Kindness

    thought to consider without a typical ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Let go and let god".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    Your all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome .

    May 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  2. CAPTAIN CONUNDRUM

    SO.... CHRISTIANS ARE NOW IN SUPPORT OF COMMUNISTS. INTERESTING NEWS!

    May 22, 2012 at 2:03 am |
    • YeahRight

      "You're all smart people . I tell the truth."

      LMAO You're all smart people . I tell the truth.= EGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That makes your whole post moot!

      May 22, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  3. NewsRaider

    I could not care less about this Chinese activist. If he wants to be an activist, let him do it in China where he belongs.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Don S.

      People who protest human rights abuses in Red China should do so in Red China–just as Jews should have stayed in National Socialist Germany to protest Nazi practices.

      May 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  4. Nii

    What??? only 91 or so comments! Wow the Atheists have been tranquilized! As they say,"every day for thief, one day for master!" I hope other Christians learn from the example of Rev Fu and show charitable love in thought, word and deed!

    May 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  5. Keith

    Somehow, I just knew it wouldn't be Joel Olsteen helping the guy.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  6. Rational Libertarian

    You have to wonder why the world is so scared of a nation that can let a blind man escape from their custody.

    May 21, 2012 at 7:11 am |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    May 21, 2012 at 4:48 am |
    • Jesus

      *Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!*!

      May 21, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  8. Answer

    The typical religious dimwit would like to infest into China their religion while China (the nation and it's state laws) would rather vanquish all religions.

    The typical argument is that religion is valid. It is not. Religion wherever and whenever should be total wiped from the face of the earth. I support China in it's quest to bring about an absolute purge of religion and their cultist ways.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • jeff

      There's a new concept, one beliefe system wanting to destroy another beliefe system because their beliefe system is the "correct" beliefe system. Yea dude, you're the sharpest tool in the shed.

      May 21, 2012 at 2:22 am |
    • AJ

      Answer – so happy I won't be meeting up with you in eternity.

      May 21, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • AJ

      You are an atheist however failed to mention that.

      May 21, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      And there's nothing wrong with wanting to "purge religion"? That's the kind of fanaticism you'd expect from religious extremists, not atheists. League of the Militant Godless, anyone?

      May 21, 2012 at 7:14 am |
  9. ep451

    As I have been saying since this thing started, this whole affair has been staged!!. Anti-abortionists, Evangelists, Bush-nostalgia, etc…. And the press including CNN is not doing their Job. Time for a “keeping-them-honest” moment here?

    May 21, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  10. Flamespeak

    There are millions of people from China, the Philippines, Mexico, and a plethora of other countries who are routinely denied legal and just entry into the United States on a daily basis, but someone who causes unrest in their homeland gets a golden ticket.

    Shame on my country for doing this.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • Jay

      Someone causing "unrest?" So, legitimate protest against a a regime known for human rights abuses, but never called out on it by the capitalistic west, is "causing unrest?" Who's the real blind one here.....

      May 21, 2012 at 1:38 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.