Bob Fu and his pregnant wife Heidi escaped Beijing, made it to Bangkok, then Hong Kong, and finally to the United States. Sixteen years later, Fu travels the U.S. speaking at colleges and universities, churches, congressional briefings, and even the State Department.

A tireless advocate for persecuted Christians in his homeland of China, Fu encourages those in the West to help alleviate imprisonment, torture, and other human rights violations there.

“Many people in the free world aren’t well informed or aware of what is really happening in China,” says Fu. “They see the positive side of China with its skyscrapers and economic progress. But really it’s one of the worst countries on Earth for persecuting people for their faith.”

Fu tells his story in God’s Double Agent: The True Story of a Chinese Christian’s Fight for Freedom (Baker Books), published late last year. The book describes his early life of poverty, conversion to Christianity, imprisonment, escape, and his efforts on behalf of Chinese Christians.

“I was encouraged by close friends to get my story out, in order to inform the public, encourage those concerned about China, and advance freedom in China,” says Fu. “I want my story to let people know that persecution is still happening. I also want to show that even a beggar’s son, by the grace of the Lord, can make a difference if we are faithful in what we are doing. Little by little we can help.”

Fu believes that Chinese Christian churches are doing well overall, despite the persecution, saying that experts estimate there are close to 100 million Christians in China. The first Protestant missionaries arrived in 1807; there were fewer than 1 million Christians when the Communists took over in 1949.

“The growth of the Chinese church has been unprecedented, especially in the last 60 years under the rule of the Communists,” says Fu. “Urbanization has helped spread the gospel easier. The Internet has played a pivotal role in bringing information faster to the people.”

Fu is founder of ChinaAid, a nonprofit that works on behalf of political dissidents and the underground church in China. Fu also works with Voice of the Martyrs, an interdenominational organization that assists the persecuted church worldwide. He and his family live in Midland, Tex.; he is not able to return to China.

“I wish American churches to know a true picture of what is happening with the Chinese church,” Fu says. “In spite of the rapid growth of the Christian church in China, persecution does exist. We should not choose the easy path and ignore those in chains.”