ChinaAid's History

ChinaAid was founded in 2002 on the announcement of death sentences for five Chinese house church leaders. In response, a mission was conceived to Expose-Encourage-Equip, and ChinaAid issued its first press release after meeting with Members of Congress and their staff, revealed details of these cases with then-Chinese president Jiang Zemin, launched its first letter-writing campaign, and sent its first team of trained human rights lawyers to defend those being persecuted. In the end, the five death sentences were overturned.

Over the past 15 years, ChinaAid's mission has evolved to one of exposing human rights abuses and promoting truth, justice and freedom by advocating for religious freedom and the rule of law in China. ChinaAid continues to endeavor for the immediate release of prisoners of conscience, equip human rights defenders and religious and community leaders with religious freedom and rule of law training, rescue and resettle persecuted leaders and their families, encourage families of prisoners of conscience by providing financial assistance, and exposing abuse by featuring unique stories of persecution and injustice on ChinaAid's website and through social media.

ChinaAid's Timeline


ChinaAid’s offices were moved from Philadelphia to Midland, Texas. In the same year, ChinaAid advocated and provided legal assistance for Pastor Cai Zhuohua, whose original 15-year sentence was reduced to a three-year sentence. ChinaAid also provided legal aid to the Xiaoshan House Church.


The Chinese government revoked attorney Gao Zhisheng’s license to practice law. In August 2006, Gao was kidnapped by the Chinese government. ChinaAid led the international community in the appeal for Gao’s release.


The Christian Human Rights Lawyers Association of China was founded. Later that year, ChinaAid published its first “Annual Report on Persecution of Chinese House Churches.”


ChinaAid provided legal aid for the Xiaoshan House Church case, in which three Christians were sentenced for “supplying intelligence to foreign organizations” and the case of Shi Wiehan, who was tortured for not providing information on other Christian leaders.


ChinaAid launched a campaign for the release of Alimujiang Yimiti, an ethnic Uyghur who converted from Islam to Christianity. The same year, Fu was awarded the John Leland Religious Liberty Award by Southern Baptists of America, and along with four human rights activists, met with President George W. Bush in the White House Diplomatic Reception Room. Fu was also invited to the European Union headquarters in Brussels to draw attention to the cases of lawyer Gao Zhisheng and the persecution of Alimujiang.


ChinaAid assisted Gao Zhisheng’s wife and two children and lawyer Guo Feixiong’s wife and children secure refugee status and claim asylum in the United States. ChinaAid later presented a “Free Gao” petition with more than 50,000 signatures to the United States Senate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Chinese embassy. ChinaAid also facilitated its fifth delegation of Chinese lawyers to testify at a hearing of the United States Congress’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on “The Current Situation of Religious Freedom and the Rule of Law in China.”


ChinaAid provided legal assistance to the Guangzhou-based Liangren House Church, which was forced to hold its services outdoors and Pastor Wang “Joshua” Dao who was placed under criminal detention. ChinaAid also hosted a sixth delegation of human rights lawyers to attend a hearing on human rights in China at the European Parliament’s Human Rights Commission in Brussels. Fu ended the year by attending the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony for human rights and democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo.


ChinaAid released a video showing the house arrest conditions for blind human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng, drawing international attention to his circumstances. ChinaAid, along with Christian Solidarity Worldwide, nominated the imprisoned and paralyzed Christian human rights lawyer Ms. Ni Yulan for the 2011 Human Rights Tulip, a Dutch award for those who promote international human rights. ChinaAid also organized a delegation to testify about the deterioration of human rights, religious freedom, and the rule of law in China at a European Union human rights forum in the Netherlands.


Bob Fu testified on Chen Guangcheng’s behalf at a congressional hearing following Chen’s escape from house arrest to the United States embassy in Beijing. Fu’s testimony assisted Chen and his family’s release to the U.S.


ChinaAid celebrated the release of ChinaAid's president Bob Fu’s memoir God’s Double Agent. ChinaAid also arranged for former vice president Kody Kness to travel to China with Dr. Devra Marcus in an attempt to meet with and evaluate the health of China 18 imprisoned dissident Zhu Yufu, an event which was covered by The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Associated Press, and other media outlets. ChinaAid also redoubled its efforts to assist Chen Guangcheng’s persecuted family in China and facilitated Chen’s meetings with the American Bar Association, senior State Department officials, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and other key leaders in the U.S. Congress.


ChinaAid exposed religious freedom and related human rights abuses by issuing 1,500 press releases in Chinese and more than 200 original news stories in English, encouraged the abused by providing support and funding to 20 families of human rights defenders, equipped leaders by providing funding for more than 100 Chinese human rights lawyers representing religious freedom defenders from 20 provinces of China, directly funded legal representation for more than 40 victims of religious freedom and human rights cases, and facilitated rule of law training for more than 6,000 Chinese religious and community leaders.


In response to quickly escalating persecution, ChinaAid uncovered a sudden crackdown on China’s human rights lawyers and advocates which began on July 9, 2015, and later became known as the “709 incident” or simply “709.” During this time of upheaval, ChinaAid allocated resources to assisting the lawyers and their families in their battle to defend freedom. ChinaAid also helmed international media coverage of a province-wide church and cross demolition campaign that eradicated more than 2,000 crosses in China’s Zhejiang crosses and resulted in the arbitrary detention and arrest of hundreds of Christians, including human rights lawyer Zhang Kai.


ChinaAid partnered with former Taiwanese Vice President Annette Lu to hold the Asia-Pacific Religious Freedom Forum (APRFF) in February 2016, which convened numerous prominent religious freedom advocates to discuss religious freedom conditions in Asia. In addition, ChinaAid held trainings and conferences aimed at equipping persecuted Christians with the theological and legal knowledge required to effectively defend their rights and lead their congregations.

In April 2016, ChinaAid broke the news of the murder and martyrdom of Ding Cuimei, a Christian woman buried alive for defending her church from a demolition caused by a land dispute. The resulting international media attention successfully pressured the local government to rule that the church could keep its land.


As 2017 progressed, ChinaAid responded to the continued persecution of Christians and human rights lawyers by organizing trips to Washington, D.C., for the victims' families so that they may share their stories with key U.S. policymakers. Subsequently, they earned the cooperation of numerous members of Congress and the Senate.