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Wilberforce Award for Bob Fu of ChinaAid

Release International partner Bob Fu of ChinaAid has been honoured with a prestigious Wilberforce Award for supporting Chinese Christians facing persecution.

The award, named after the 19th century British abolitionist, has been made by the Colson Centre in the USA.

They write: ‘Pastor Bob Fu is one of the leading voices in the world for persecuted faith communities in China.

‘We recognise Bob Fu’s tireless advocacy for tens of millions of Chinese Christians who live under constant threat of persecution.

‘Bob Fu is a champion for the image of God, tirelessly engaged in defending the right to life of so many of our brothers and sisters in China. His simple example of steady faithfulness in the gospel is what the Wilberforce Award is created for, and we are honoured to recognise him this year.

‘China has become more aggressive to the outside world and to its own people, particularly the people of Hong Kong, the Muslim Uyghur population, and Christians.

‘The work of ChinaAid is more important than ever. In fact, when you think of Pastor Fu, the biblical phrase, ‘for such a time as this’ should come to mind.

‘Some of what ChinaAid has accomplished is the stuff of movies,’ they add, ‘including smuggling human rights lawyers and their families out of the country to safety.

‘Through it all, Pastor Fu has earned a fitting nickname: “the pastor of China’s Underground Railroad”.’

Comments Bob Fu, modestly: ‘I’m so honoured.’

Bob Fu’s story

Bob Fu was born and raised in mainland China, the son of a disabled father and beggar mother. He fully intended to join the Communist Party after graduation and become a government official.

But God had other plans.

His life changed when an American professor gave him a biography of a Chinese intellectual who converted to Christianity.

Bob became a student leader during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations for freedom and democracy in 1989.

After graduation he became a house church leader in Beijing until he and his wife, Heidi, were imprisoned for two months for ‘illegal evangelism’ in 1996.

They were arrested after establishing a Bible school, using chairs borrowed from a Communist Party school where he taught.

The Party didn’t share Bob’s sense of irony. It sent them to jail.

Later, fearing they would be forced to have an abortion under China’s infamous ‘one child policy’ they emigrated to Hong Kong, which was still under British rule.

They fled to the United States as religious refugees in 1997 and were granted political asylum by the Clinton administration.

Five years later, Bob Fu founded ChinaAid to bring China’s human rights violations to international attention and to promote freedom and the rule of law.

His autobiography, Gods Double Agent, details his conversion to Christianity, his arrest and imprisonment for starting an illegal house church, his harrowing escape, and his subsequent rise to prominence in the United States as an advocate for his oppressed brethren.

His latest book, The Politics of Inclusive Pluralism, outlines his foundation for religious freedom in a post-communist Democratic China.


From his base in West Texas, Bob Fu operates what the Wall Street Journal has called ‘the most influential network of human-rights activists, underground Christians and freedom fighters in China.’

The Release partner works to expose the systemic persecution, harassment, torture, and imprisonment of Chinese Christians and human rights lawyers in China.

ChinaAid offers financial support to persecuted Chinese Christians, and training for church leaders in China.

Says Release International CEO Paul Robinson: ‘We are delighted our partner Bob Fu has been honoured in this way for his work with persecuted Christians in China. He’s a man of courage, determination and radiant faith. This award will further focus attention on the faithful believers in China whom together we serve.’

Bob Fu at Release International event in London. Picture Andrew Boyd Release International scaled