Texas-based China Aid Association founder Rev. Bob Fu received the 2007 John Leland Religious Liberty Award.
The award ceremony was held at the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Dr. Richard Land, president of Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and United States Congressman Trent Franks, co-chair of the congressional Human Rights Caucus’ Force for International Religious Freedom, presented the award to Rev. Fu, which recognized his significant contribution to China’s religious liberty.
Rev. Fu once served as a lecturer at the People’s University of Beijing. For the last ten years in United States, he fought for the reform of China’s religious freedom and China’s human rights conditions. He founded China Aid Association, an organization that focuses on the rights of Chinese Christianity.
In 2006, when the representatives of China Christian Council and China’s Three Self Patriotic Movement visited United States to hold the Bible Exhibition, Rev. Fu organized a meeting of three underground house church members to meet with United States President George W. Bush at the White House, which directly challenged China for its so-called “Open Religious Policy.”
Last year on Sept. 16, Rev. Fu invited 34 United States Congressmen to write a letter in the name of United States Congress to China’s National Chairman Hu Jintao, requesting for the release of Chen Guangcheng, a blind human rights lawyer in China. Chen relentlessly fought for the rights of the regular citizens, who were forced to have abortions and birth sterilization under China’s population control measures, but he was persecuted by the Chinese government.
Rev. Fu said to the media that this award is not merely an encouragement to him, but it is also a great encouragement to the China’s House Church Christians, who are suppressed under the government’s high pressure and sufferings because of their faith.
He pointed out that although the number of Christians are numerous in China, their voices could not be heard from the outside because of the long-term suppression of the Chinese government and the closed communication. He emphasized that China’s religious freedom was getting even worse last year, so he hopes that the international community will have more opportunity to understand the reality in China’s religious environment.
According to sources, the recipient of the 2006 John Leland Religious Freedom Award was United States President George W. Bush; this year’s award to a Chinese Pastor is very exceptional.