Midland Reporter-Telegram: China Aid banquet highlights growing need for human rights work

Midland Reporter-Telegram
By Simone Jasper
Published 9:10 pm, Saturday, April 22, 2017

■ Rev. Bob Fu, founder of ChinaAid, shares stories of religous persection happening in China during the ChinaAid banquet April 20, 2017, at Midland Country Club. James Durbin/Reporter-Telegram

After five people were arrested for leading Christian services in a remote part of western China, the nonprofit China Aid sponsored lawyers for their defense. Bob Fu, founder and president of the Midland-based organization, said the leaders recently received sentences ranging from three to five years.

Photo: James Durbin

“It really represents a major escalation of religious persecution in China for the past 10 years,” Fu said. “There had been some arrests and detentions, but it hadn’t been that severe. Especially this organization … was a worship service, and the charges were disturbing public order. People were in a home worshipping together.”

Fu was disheartened when he read through the legal documents in the case, which listed Bibles, hymnbooks and other materials as evidence. He said his organization has worked to expose religious oppression.

“Last year alone according to documentation shows a major [increase] compared to 2015,” Fu said. “Over 50,000 were persecuted according to our measurement.”

Fu said Chinese Christians experience harassment, church desecration and other punishments. He shared some of their stories with people attending the China Freedom Banquet on Thursday.

The banquet at Midland Country Club celebrated the 15th anniversary of China Aid. U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican and co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, touted the nonprofit’s advocacy on Capitol Hill.

“The efforts of China Aid are critically important to those who are suffering every day from physical torture, mental torture and depravation of every kind,” Smith said.

The 19-term congressman, who has visited oppressed groups around the world, expressed concern about China’s policies. In particular, the pro-life lawmaker denounced the government’s family-planning efforts.

“Imagine a policy where brothers and sisters are illegal and the government tells you when and if you can have a child,” Smith said.

One woman who became pregnant with a second child shared her story through a written statement. Liu Xiaodong, the wife of a political activist, escaped from China to Thailand. With Fu’s help, she arrived in the United States before delivering her daughter.

“I really appreciate deeply the brothers and sisters who dedicate financial support through Pastor Bob Fu,” Xiaodong said through a translator before the event. “It was a really dangerous circumstance in Thailand last year. I could have been in China last year without Pastor Fu. I was rescued successfully. Both my two children don’t have to live in fear anymore.”

Also at the event was Wang Yanfang, the wife of an imprisoned human rights lawyer.

Fu, who has raised awareness since he fled China two decades ago, said there’s an increasing need for the nonprofit’s work. He said he’s grateful West Texans help the cause.

“Most of our operating costs and support — the majority of them come from Midland-Odessa, the Permian Basin community,” Fu said before the event. “They come together.”

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
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