EXCLUSIVE: Religious Refugee Talks to President Bush

By Camaron Abundes  
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- The Beijing Olympics are days away and for one Midland Religious Refugee, the timing is perfect. He hopes his meeting, last week, with President Bush will help bring about change for the millions of people fighting religious persecution.

"I told the President especially the religious persecution is getting worse as China is heading toward the Olympics and he told me he is going to attend the opening ceremony Next Friday and also he will hold talks with the Chinese President," Bob Fu, President of the China Aid Association and Staff Pastor at MidCities Community Church, said.

Fu spent time in prison for operating an underground Christian church. He was baptized secretly in a shower stall.

"I said make sure you tell the Chinese President, that meetings of these unauthorized churches are not the threat to the Chinese stability, they're not even a threat to the Chinese leaders," he said, "They've been praying for them everyday. They're holding prayer services, praying for the success and peaceful Olympics, and of course they want China to be opened up to have more freedom."

Fu says although the Chinese government has opened up to allow for a state sanctioned Church, he hopes even more changes will come through the extra attention on China for the Beijing Olympics.

"Our main goal, and vision is to advance and realize religious freedom in China for people of all faiths," Fu said.

In 2005, two years after Fu started the China Aid Association, he spoke before the 61st UN Human Rights Commission. According to a newsletter sent out by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) Fu was "booted from the Convention for exposing Chinese torture methods."

Fu says the Chinese leaders involved blocked his message and he was escorted out, the shock baton he smuggled out of prison was confiscated along with his credentials.

The meeting with President Bush went much more smoothly. He asked the President not only to speak with the Chinese leaders, but directly with the people in order to prevent the state controlled media from twisting his words.

"He agreed and made a pledge and promise, and he told me he will attend official sanctioned Church service, next Sunday," Fu said, "He will make a speech to really urge the Chinese leaders not to be afraid of freedom, especially religious freedom."

Sunday morning Fu says he received a call from a Pastor in China who was taken along with his wife and coworkers by members of the Chinese government when he tried to speak to a BBC news crew.

"The Chinese government has promised during they Olympics they will have free access to interview people," Fu said, who adds the persecution has escalated leading up to the Olympics.