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. camp

    Clearly momoya and Dari were never taught the art of debate....and one of the sure signs of a weak arguement in debate is accusation and vulgarity, Again not my words but Stephen Douglass

    May 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • where di you go momya?

      "You christians can always come up with a way to abandon your own argument (once it's been destroyed) and instead ad hominem or point to insults or the color of the person's hair, or the way they dress, or who they s c r e w.. Any excuse to disregard the argument will do," Momoya's haunting last words..............

      May 20, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  2. camp

    BTW Non God is Mao's term so don't get mad at me, that is what HE called his own nation, but he is dead so you can't fit with him about it.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  3. camp

    come on Momoya, you made an accusation that surely can be supported by your reason and logic, but just to say I am lying is not a logical reason that's an emotion.................

    May 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  4. camp

    So you are saying my comments about words like compassion, safety, are stupid sh t you are not making sense. How are those words offensive

    May 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  5. camp

    what an absurd comment " I hate China" So you are saying China's oprression of this man is ok. Iam saying I am glad he has found a way out of that. I said nothing about hate. geesh, what sensational lengths you go to to make your point. AND I do own every word I have posted on any of these blogs, they have not been hateful, I have asked clarfying questions, to get a better grasp on your point of view, and mopst of time you are using innane insulting expletives as your response.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  6. camp

    How sad for you omomya that you can't even celebrate this man's escape from torture, what do you think is worth celebrating then?

    May 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • momoya

      I do celebrate it..

      You said some stupid sh!t and then you lied about it.. You're god may give you a free pass on that sort of thing, but I don't.. Instead of arguing about it like a ninny, why don't you just take more time to think before you say something asinine or lie about it.

      May 20, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • camp

      Well that is encouraging, I never made one reference to a god, just the fact that this situation lives in a non-god (again Mao's term not mine)

      May 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • camp

      Again you have not been specific about lying, What statement was not true?

      May 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • camp

      If I am wrong – not afraid to say so, if I am accused of lying, you have to be specific or I can't – either respond or say I am sorry I lied.

      May 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  7. camp

    If you can clarfy for me what you THINK I am lying about, very willing to listen. Why is the term non god so offensive? You guys usesing your it all the time, just a truthful term, China is a non god nation, look it up in Mao's "little red book"

    May 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  8. camp

    My thrust was commenting about Chinese oppression, so is that what I am lying about? So you think oppression is ok? you are not making any sense

    May 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  9. joe


    "I have more love and stronger morals than any Christian and so I will maintain."

    Do you know how narcissistic your statement s? Probably not. From your babblings you probably think, "How can it be narcissistic when its true." lmao

    May 20, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • momoya

      Hi, joe.. Did you have something of substance you wish to discuss?

      May 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Darwi

      joe, I don't expect you to understand things like comparative epistemology or any of my other reasons for coming to that conclusion, so I won't bother trying to explain anything to you, especially as you seem rather ignorant of how useful politeness can be in a blog like this. You simply aren't worth my time at all beyond these few words.

      May 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  10. jim

    I hope Fu is the first one Cheng sues. I'm sure he can find some basis for a suit. After all, that's what he came here for!

    May 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • janus

      my blue b#lls r huge!

      May 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  11. jo an


    May 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  12. Dott

    Major concern here is who will support him and his family until he can learn English? Or will he get his degree in law using an interperter paid for by us? Will the American tax payer have to foot the cost of his apartment, food, and etc. for his wife and children? Charity does NOT begin at home in the good old USA!

    May 20, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Kire

      Oh come on, as always, the overburdoned American taxpayers will support them like we are forced to support all parasites from foreign countries.

      May 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  13. camp

    It amazes me that any topic on these blogs that Momoya responds to is about bashing god believers, when as exampled here, my comment had nothing to do with that – it had to do with compassion and someone's safety. "methinks thou duft protest too much" William Shakespere

    May 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • camp

      I am sure it is true and that is my point here I was commenting on the compassion of a person, not their religion, and momoya had to reveal his/her real agenda that has not pupose here, as I was not talking religion I was talking about compassion and the desire for one individual to help another. That is part of the human makeup THAT is what I was commenting on......

      May 20, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • momoya

      @ camp

      And your an absolute idiot if you can't read back over our posts and see how you've lied and misrepresented YOUR OWN words.. I know that you're going to lie and misrepresent my words, but to do it to your own words.. How fvcking stupid are you?

      May 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Darwi

      camp, if you want to impress us, all you have to do is be honest and admit it if you were wrong.

      Backtracking while doing your best to pretend you did not accuse all atheists in your previous posts is patently dishonest and does not get you any points for your further attempts to cover your a**.
      If you made a mistake, own up to it.
      If you don't, you are shown to be a liar.
      We have enough of those already, wouldn't you agree?

      May 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • camp

      Yepmomya your typical prosaic response, again I was commenting on a good deed someone is safe because someone took action, That is a fact not a lying about anything.

      May 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Darwi

      camp, your words are there for everyone to see. You cannot hide the fact that you are now being a baldfaced liar.

      Do you think liars should receive compassion?

      Even when they refuse to admit they lied, keep adding lies in a transparent attempt to cover it up, and will probably continue to lie, as we could easily say about YOU?

      Why lie? Are you a pathological liar? Do you lie when you pray? I'll bet you do, actually. What would Jesus say about that?

      May 20, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  14. camp

    Mao saw no value in the individual, so it is very easy for the modern chinese to torture and debilitate its own, How has that in anyway connected to religion? Mao was not a god believer.

    May 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  15. 1amazed2u

    Incredible. I am glad it worked out for him.

    May 20, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  16. camp

    So how do you explain chinese oppression? It is a non god nation, so where does that comes from – their ideology has no respect for the individual.

    May 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • momoya

      Atheism isn't an "ideology.". It's a conclusion.. An ideology is complex; atheism just doesn't believe in unproved beings that some people imagine and label "god."

      May 20, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Darwi

      Their ideology has developed into a totalitarian capitalist regime.
      Their party members drive expensive cars and live rich lives on the backs of the poor, just like the so-called "communists" did in the U.S.S.R.
      They say they are communist, yet their society is just as stratified with an internal caste system as it was before Mao came along. Rich and powerful party leaders at the top, masses of poor terrorized peasants at the bottom.
      They might make a few motions that look like communism, but they are more interested in keeping their personal power and wealth, no different than Qaddafi in Libya, or any of thousands of dictators and ruling elites throughout human history.

      You seek to tie atheism to China, yet atheism does not give an ideology of itself. It is merely the lack of a belief in any gods.
      This is not a motivating sort of position at all. I may be an atheist, but I am a secular humanist over all.
      Atheism is not my ideology because atheism cannot be stretched into an ideology.
      Secular humanism is my ideology and I make of it what I will according to my ideals of how I think people should act towards each other.
      I have more love and stronger morals than any Christian and so I will maintain. Any country I create will have love for freedom and civil rights as one of the core tenets. I reject utterly the totalitarian capitalism of China and seek its downfall.

      You hate China because a few Christians are hunted and murdered, yet you are confused about the reasons behind it.
      I am not confused. Maybe that's because I am not distracted by religion like you are.

      May 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • camp

      Again Momoya calling people a liar – what am I lying about? I was talking about the non god nation of China, NOT your personal belief. So quick to call others liars when you can't even acknowledge a simple good act that this Chinese national and his family ae safe. That is all I was commenting on........geesh how sad for you

      May 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • camp

      agreed tht is why I use the term non god.

      May 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • momoya


      Very slowly, read each word of each post.. You can figure this out on your own.. Go ahead.

      May 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Darwi

      momoya, I can see you don't have to deal with many pathological liars very often.
      He is not likely to admit anything, talk without lying, or even be able to try.
      Medication might help, but that's about it at this point. Please continue to thrash the fundies in other ways.
      I have been laughing at some of your posts. Don't waste time with this kludge.

      May 20, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  17. camp

    Yes but here is a person who out of his compassion for another person rescued e hand his family out of oppression. I was not talking religion I very specifically used the word compassion, yet you feel you have to make you point vilifying someone's belief, gosh that is getting old with you..........you can't even celebrate the fact that here is an example of a good deed. Chen and his family are safe...........

    May 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • momoya

      Don't lie, camp.. Every single reader of this thread can look at your post and see your comment and see that THE ENTIRE THRUST was an accusation of "non-god" peoples..

      May 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  18. Gush much


    Exactly!!! Thanks for your comment!

    May 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  19. camp

    Here is an example of how the so called "non god" nation deals with people they dont agree with. Yet you won't hear the "non god" floks on this blog comment about how Chen is now in a safer place because of someone's compassion.

    May 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • momoya


      Atheist or christian or muslim, people do horrible things to one another.. Of course, none of these horrors even come close to those visited upon humans by bible god over the past few thousand years or the horror he will visit upon those he considers his "enemies" in hell.. Love your enemies?? Hell no, do as much pain and torture as possible to them–that's what biblegod does..

      May 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Darwi

      Since China's government is not structured around atheism, I hardly see the need to make an issue of it.

      China is a totalitarian capitalistic state that finds it useful to suppress all other forms of ideology. They do not respect atheists any more than they respect Christians if we do not worship their ideology.
      And just to be clear, here, atheism is the complete lack of belief in a deity or deities. It is not an ideology and never will be.

      And while I applaud the compassion of everyone concerned, this compassion was not and is not supernatural in any way.

      I would not be surprised in the least if it turned out that there were plenty of compassionate atheists who also help people to escape China or other such oppressive regimes.
      Compassion is compassion. It does not require a religion to manifest itself in the human psyche.

      May 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • jeff

      @ momoya

      Contradict yourself much? In one sentence you state that bad people do bad things, then two sentences later turn around and claim that it is a religion that does bad things. In your very own words you support that which christians believe, that being humans are broken. I'm sure you are an athiest that thinks that believers are stupid, and that your intellect is far superior. Considering the vast majority of the worlds population are believers, should make you seriously rethink your level of smarts.The burden of proof is on the athiest, until then athiests will be looked at as filth.

      May 21, 2012 at 1:38 am |
  20. Bai Ling

    Chen Guangcheng is a courageous man and hope he continues to stand up for those causes that are near and dear to him.

    May 20, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • Kire

      Sure, but stand up and be courageous in china, not on the backs of Americans

      May 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
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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.