A flickering light bulb dangles above a wooden table accompanied by two chairs facing each other; it’s an interrogation scene straight out of a mystery movie. Three police officers in civilian clothes, two wearing vibrant, kitschy Hawaiian button ups and one wearing a white shirt and jeans, grasp the bruised and unbathed man. Two lock onto his arms, while one grips tight onto his shirt collar.
Edward Perez Romero is pulled into the cold, dimly lit square room and handed off to a tall, husky Chinese female officer.
“Hand over all your belongings,” she demands, while the officer in plain clothes inspects his belongings. He notices his phone has an existing phone call. Eddie looks up.
“You know everyone in the world knows exactly where I’m at right now.”
The female officer aggressively searches his device. “SIM card!” She pushes the phone to his face.
“Find it yourself.”
She winds up her backhand and strikes Eddie across his face before releasing several blows to his stomach, legs and chest.
July 13, 2001
Eddie flips the channel to ABC News and learns that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the 2008 Summer Olympics to Beijing, The People’s Republic of China. “How could this be?” the out raged 58-year-old Mexican-American pastor and philosophy professor at Mt. San Antonio College asks his wife.
“They don’t even measure up to minimal human rights standards. How could the IOC give this to them?” But with the rush of anger, came a calming sense of peace. In a moment of time, Eddie saw a powerful vision from God; the call.
In his vision, he saw himself protesting in the middle of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. Within another moment, Eddie’s vision faded and all that was left was the memory of it. He made a promise to answer and to reconstruct what God had set out for him to do. Like a sculptor, Eddie was faced with an untouched marble stone waiting to be transformed into a masterpiece. He had a grand image in mind, but before chiseling away he knew he had to hammer out each detail of his elaborate plan.
For the next seven years leading up to the Beijing Olympics, Eddie met with Chinese and international leaders, and traveled the world to make sure his piece of marble was ready to be sculpted. And with clarity came the depth of passion. Eddie sought help from devoted Christians of the church. The biggest challenge would be getting his wife, Rosemary, on board.
He approached Rosemary with the proposal of holding a protest alone in Beijing to see if she would be comfortable with the idea, and if she was as passionate as he was. She held a long pause. Eddie tried to read past her poker face, but even after 31 years of marriage, he was unable to see through it.
“If God can speak to you about China, he can speak to me too,” she finally answered. “Fair enough, fair enough.”
In 2002, Eddie and Rosemary had discussed religious persecution while on vacation in San Francisco. Eddie could tell she was developing a sense of understanding and sympathy.
When they arrived back home Eddie introduced Rosemary to several people who went to prison for their faith. As Rosemary came face to face with their families, Eddie started to see a transformation.
“What about in 2007 we take a trip to Beijing to check out the layout?” Rosemary proposed. After meeting in 2004 with Bob Fu, Founder of China Aid, a Christian human rights organization committed to religious freedom in China, Eddie assembled a team of six church volunteers to help answer the call. They gathered to lay down ground rules.
First, they agreed not to interfere with the Olympic Games — the protest would take place before Aug. 8, when the games begun, and after Aug. 24, when the games ended. Second, Eddie needed to be a “needle in the haystack.” He needed to blend in with a city that would soon swell with tourists.
Third was “the point of no return” policy. Since China had won the bid of the Olympic Games in 2001, no significant progress in China’s human rights was made. Eddie’s calling had a purpose and he couldn’t turn back.
From 2007 to 2008,the IOC went back on their promise to allow demonstrations during the Olympics. Now they required the demonstrators to fill out an application that would need to be approved.
Seventy applications were filed. Seventy were rejected.
In a particular situation, two elderly Chinese women applied to hold a protest after being forced out of their home to make space for a building for the Olympic Games, and weren’t given the money the government promised them.
They were arrested just for filling out an application. Eddie’s decision solidified in 2006.
Prominent leaders from all over the world including Prince Charles, the prime minister of England, Tony Blair, Ai Wei Wei and Steven Spielberg said they would no longer attend the Beijing Olympics.
The team of six chiseled out the project’s details. The first part of the process was “morphing” hotel rooms into “interrogation dungeons,” which included lifelike human effigies and wall paintings. The team drew up three images that would upset the People’s Republic of China.
The first was the iconic running man handing off a black heart, instead of a baton, to his Olympic teammate. Itr ead, “Release Pastor Zhang Rongliang (House Church Christian), Xu Na (Falun Gong practitioner), Hu Jia (Internet Buddhist activist), Shi Tao (journalist) and Guo Feixiong (self-trained “barefoot” lawyer),” all of whom were imprisoned for their faith. The next image was a spin on the 2008 Olympic anthem, “One world, one dream.” Instead, they used “Our world, our nightmare,” which was also translated in Chinese characters with “Ratify ICCPR (International Covenant of Civil Political Rights)” below.
The last image read “Speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves,” Proverbs 31:8-9. The team also decided everything would be recorded live on Skype. Eddie knew the call required both physical and mental preparation.
He practiced by hiking up the Azusa Canyon with a backpack loaded with 24 water bottles, beef jerky, nutrition bars and other survival essentials. Eddie had no doubt in his capabilities of surviving the 18 days of hiding leading up to the Olympic’s end.
As a former Marine sergeant and in great shape for 58, surviving was the least of his worries. However, he needed a plan.
In 2007, during Eddie and Rosemary’s trip to Beijing, they familiarized themselves with the layout and made a list of necessary supplies he needed to set up the artwork of the interrogation dungeons.
The last weekend before his departure, Eddie practiced morphing a room in the church five times. He needed to complete each room in two hours or less.
Eddie had a final meeting with his team of videographers, helpers and “lifeline,” the only person he would contact directly. The plan could go many ways, and each was a win-win. Eddie presented three situations he predicted could happen.
The first option, was dying in custody, good for the cause, but bad for him.
The second option, was being taken into custody and sent to prison for two to 10 years, good for the cause, but bad for him.
The last option, was being deported, bad for the cause, but good for him. He had to accept he was a “dead man walking.” Eddie’s strong willed mentality was weakened by the thought of the worst possible scenario.
However he regained his strength again after reflecting on life in the Marines.
“Half of you won’t come back. Half of you will come back in bags,” he remembers being told.
He thought at 18 years old and at the height of the Vietnam War he was willing to give up his life for nationalistic reasons.
How much more sacrifice, as a Christian, for the kingdom and eternity itself? With this he was able to embrace the dead-man-walking mentality. He, along with his family, friends and church, had to believe he wouldn’t be coming home. After paying off the house mortgage, providing a savings account and taking necessary precautions for his family and church, he boarded a one-way flight to China, with no promise of returning.
Aug. 2, 2008
Eddie arrives in China with nothing but the clothes on his back. He texts his lifeline “Dinner was great,” code for “I am okay.”
Eddie checks into his home base hotel, the Sino Swiss. He sets up Skype and finishes the evening with spaghetti and a glass of red wine.
Aug. 3, 2008
Eddie goes to Orient Home, China’s version of Home Depot to purchase paint and scissors to morph the hotel rooms.
Aug. 4, 2008
He purchases the rest of his supplies from stores near his home base hotel — four brown suitcases and some duct tape. Eddie heads back to his room and divides his supplies into the cases. He is now ready for the mission that has consumed his life and brought him to China.
Aug. 5, 2008
It was the big day. Eddie would put seven years worth of planning into action.
He shops more and stocks up on Chinese and Olympic flags, tourist paraphernalia, to convince hotel concierge he was just a regular tourist. He orders a comfort meal for dinner: a hamburger, fries and a soda. Eddie’s anxiety keeps him from finishing his meal. He takes about five bites of his burger and a sip of his Coca-Cola, leaves the cash on the table and proceeds to his home base. Down the deep green, gold imperial carpeted hallway, he sees his door is wide open.
“Did I leave it open? Did I leave it unlocked?” He’s almost certain he turned the locks.
He hesitantly enters his hotel room and sees a police officer and a hotel representative conversing in a corner of the room near the draped curtains. “What’s going on guys?” Eddie says, unsure of what they know. “Your money was left on the desk.” The officer holds a thick stack of yuan.
“It was called to our attention by the cleaning lady. The money should be kept in the safe.” Eddie lets out a silent sigh of relief.
“I appreciate it. Thanks for letting me know. Looks like everything is here.” He tries to hurry them out the door.
The officer seems suspicious, slowly making his way out. “As I was here I noticed you had things you shouldn’t have in this hotel,” he points at the paint.
Luckily, Eddie had already devised a plan just in case he was questioned. “It’s water based, they’re non explosive,” he says. “I have friends going to a sports display in Beijing. The paints will be out in the morning, you don’t have to worry about them at all.” It wasn’t completely a lie.
The paints would definitely be out in the morning, but Eddie was now walking on a tightrope. What if they know more?
Did they open up the suitcases?
Still, Eddie had to go on with the plan. That night he checked into the other hotel rooms. Eddie left one suitcase in his home base room, but brought along the other three cases, and called a taxi to the Marriott West.
He arrives at the hotel’s entrance where the bell-hop assists him. Slightly uneased, Eddie plays it cool. As they walk further into the Marriott’s decorative, lavish lobby, past the two-story open bar surrounded by large, white stone pillars, the room begins to narrow. Down the hallway, Eddie spots six security guards facilitating airport-like scanning machines. He thinks on his feet.
“What hotel is this?” he asks, dumbfounded.
“The Marriott West,” the bell-hop replies perplexed.
“Oh! I was supposed to go to the Novotel Peace!” Eddie dramatically puts his palm to his forehead and shakes his head in disbelief. The bell-hop assures him it is a common mistake and waves down a taxi.
It’s 4:30 p.m. when Eddie checks into Room 1602 at the Novotel Peace. One less hotel, one extra suitcase in hand. This time he tells the taxi driver to wait. He peeks in, checking every corner of the spacious, open lobby. No scanners here. He picks up the suitcases in the taxi and enters the second hotel room.
Eddie repositions the bathroom dish soap, unwraps the complimentary shampoo and conditioner and ruffles up the bedding to make the room appear lived in. He checks into the last hotel room at 5:30p.m., carries out the same procedure and heads back to his home base.
Eddie returns to the Novotel Peace, Hotel No. 1, at 6:20 p.m. to start the morphing process. He seals the doors with duct tape to ensure the paint fumes don’t seep through. Eddie was met with the point of no return.
If he decided to back out now he would have committed no crime.
Up until this point, Eddie was innocent. He lays out the suit case’s contents — scissors, duct tape, paint, brushes and clothes for the prisoner effigy, onto the bed.
He takes out a paint brush and bucket of black paint to start the running man design.
“Let’s say it loud,” he tells the people back home all tuned in on Skype.
He jumps onto the bed with a paint brush dipped in black paint. “Here we go.” A sense of enjoyment and adrenaline pumps through his body.
The paintbrush dipped in black touches the surface of the wall and in a moment of time, Eddie hit the point of no return.
The memory he had in 2001 reappears. He knew he had to finish what he started.
He paints the first wall of the running man image with demands underneath asking the Chinese government release Pastor Zhang Rongliang, Xu Na, Hu Jia, Shi Tao and Guo Feixiong.
He hears people convening outside his door. He freezes, careful to not make a sound. Eddie was pushing his time frame. It was well over an hour and he still hadn’t started on the human effigy.
Practicing it was one thing, but doing the actual thing was taking an emotional drain on him. He was exhausted, but knew the call needed to be answered.
After creating the effigies, which were made out of the hotel’s sheets and shaped into a prisoner, he takes a taxi to The Traders Hotel, Hotel No. 2. It is now 8:56 p.m.. Eddie sits in the back seat of a taxi. His phone vibrates. It was his team back home, following his every move.
“Keep talking to us. Describe what you see. We got to keep this streaming.”
Exhausted, Eddie morphs the second room. This time he paints, “Who is my neighbor?” on a fourth wall.
Over Skype, he explains, “Unless you truly understand the people around you and let your heart open up to their pain and do something about it, you would see that this is not as dramatic as it could be.”
Eddie makes it back to his home base and says to his team, “I am much more tired, even though I practiced this, I didn’t plan the emotional exhaustion. If you think the cause would be better served by me morphing this third room, I will do that.
No questions asked, no argument from me.”
Eddie’s team advises him to rest for he will need energy for the upcoming days.
He takes a long hot shower, shaves and cuts his hair so he is somewhat unrecognizable. For the next four hours he lay comfortably on the soft cushioned mattress.
Aug. 6, 2008
Knowing the next few hours and several days would be filled with chaos, Eddie calls room service and orders The Capital: eggs, potatoes and fresh fruit. He consciously chews his breakfast, going through the plans. He grabs his bag of water bottles and food and heads to the lobby. He eyes a bowl of fruit sitting at the receptionist table, bags two apples and an orange and walks out the revolving doors and waves down a taxi. He finds a small park and briefly contemplates if it would be a good hiding spot. But Eddie was no longer a needle in the haystack. The park was full of Chinese families, with no tourists in sight.
A cameraman and host from CCTV, China’s main television broadcast network, approach Eddie. “Can we interview you for CCTV tonight?” He entertains the idea of playing hide and seek on television. He imagines the police officer assigned to figure out where he was while eating dinner and flips to the image of the man he’d been looking for. He chuckles and politely denies their request.
Through the park’s lush green trees and dewy grass lawn, Eddie could see the sun was now setting. He had to find shelter. He memorized Beijing’s street layout from his trip in 2007 with his wife and remembered passing by hills surrounded by tall trees and thick bushes. Eddie knew that would be the perfect spot. He waves down another taxi to take him to the fifth ring road to exit 43. They exit the road, driving straight until they come to a T-intersection. He sees the foothills in the distance, but isn’t quite sure how to get there.
The driver looks at him for directions. Eddie looks to his left and right. “Right.” They come across another intersection. “Right.” Eddie has no idea where he is.
As they drive through the curved road, they pass by what looks like low-income housing. ‘Is this a neighborhood, a campground?’
He was confused. The driver pulls up to the end of the road. About 100 yards in front of him is a guard station blocking the entrance to the hills. “Turn left into the parking lot.” Across the parking lot is another guard station.
Eddie tries not to panic, but realizes it’s getting darker and he must find a spot, and fast. He pays the driver, grabs his backpack and races through the parking lot, praying the guards wouldn’t notice him.
He gets through the parking lot and encounters a 7-foot high wall. He lifts his arms and springs off the wall and jumps to the other side. Eddie is now invisible.
He follows the creek that meets a paved road. To the left is the entrance to the hills and to right is an entrance to a park.
He turns left and comes to a sign reading “DO NOT ENTER.” ‘I’ll play stupid.’ It’s worked before. As he heads up the slanted road he sees another guard station about 200 yards away. In a quick turn he heads back down. He hears footsteps drawing closer, faster, louder. Eddie looks back and sees three young, fit shirtless men wearing khaki cargo pants and laced boots jogging down the road. All three make eye contact with Eddie. He shrugs a lost, helpless facial expression. As they pass Eddie, the middle jogger gives him a double take, but Eddie was no longer in sight. He bends at the nearest corner and sprints up a 60 foot path. Now at the top of the hill, he stops to catch his breath. He walks down another path, crosses a gulley and finds an open area that looks like an abandoned garden. To the right — tall grass and a large granite memorial statue, to the left — bushes and trees. He hits the ground and crawls along a low brick wall, dodging spiderwebs and insects. He finds the perfect spot. A hole big enough for his 5 foot 4 inch stature laid between a thick brush and the wall. ‘This is perfect! Thank you Lord. I can’t imagine a better spot than this.’ Eddie knew this was a gift from God. He puts his bag down and makes the dirt hole his home.
Aug. 7, 2008
Eddie peacefully wakes up to the distant sound of gongs and chanting at 4 a.m. He turns his head in every direction, and his surroundings were much clearer in daylight. He peeks down the hill at a row of housing quarters.
He speculates that it may be a retreat camp. He hears people talking and stretches his head a little further out. Eddie hears several military vehicles driving up and down a winding road nearby. Chanting? Gongs? Military vehicles? The clues weren’t adding up.
Aug. 9, 2008
He decides to explore the area and discovers a park with many temples. He spots a mom and pop convenience store, orders a bowl of hot noodles, stocks up on water and Oreo cookies. Throughout each day, Eddie heard people doing physical training and marching. “Aha!” he realizes. He pieced together the clues. He was hiding on China’s very own military base. He had already got through three guard stations. He couldn’t believe it. Eddie was certain he’d never be found.
Aug. 16, 2008
The sky was gray and intimidating, and the Chinese government seeded the clouds.
They needed rain to clear out the heavy smog so it wouldn’t interfere with the Games. Eddie’s mylar blanket, which retains 80 percent of body heat, wasn’t enough to endure a thunderstorm. Torrential rain began to pour.
Eddie was now huddled in a pool of mud, convulsing. “I can’t make it tonight,” he texts his lifeline, which meant “I am not okay.” He counted the lightening strikes and measured the sound of thunder to see if it was moving closer. Both disappeared within time.
Aug. 24, 2008
Eddie had spent 18 days hiding on China’s military grounds. With a dwindling food source, a beaten body and a tired soul, but with an undying passion, Eddie crawled out of the hole. Today marked the end of the 2008 Olympics. He waves down a taxi. Eddie’s entire body is covered in dried mud, cicada bugs are stuck to his beard and head and he reeks; exactly how 18 days in the jungle with no shower would smell.
The driver is expressionless, but rolls down the window closest to Eddie. Eddie is dropped off at the nearest Starbucks. Still unshaven and reeking of sweat and mud, Eddie orders a venti chai tea latte. The cashier and customers stare at him. “Ahhh.” He takes a sip of civility.
He finishes his warm, delightful welcome back to civilization. Eddie walks across the street to Wal Mart and purchases a plain white T-shirt, denim jeans and a razor. He washes up in the restroom, trying to rid the stench and dirt tacked to his skin. He takes a cab to Tiananmen Square and stands across the street from The Great Hall of the People where he envisioned his protest. It’s 10 p.m. The fireworks display sparks across the sky, celebrating the end of the Beijing Olympics. This was Eddie’s cue. To his left were military soldiers and to his right were police officers, standing in files according to their rank.
Eddie captures a picture of himself with the message he ends each church service with: “To the King, His kingdom and His son appearing, God bless you.” He raises his voice. “The Lord says let my people go and they may worship me. I’m asking you to release Pastor Zhang Rongliang, Xu Na, Hu Jia, Shi Tao and Guo Feixiong and to ratify the ICCPR.” He repeats this in Chinese, Mandarin and English.
A crowd of tourists and natives swarm toward him taking pictures and capturing him on video. Two Chinese men wearing touristy Hawaiian shirts are yelling at everyone to back up, confiscating cameras in the process. Eddie walks over to the military. “You guys can do something about this!” He heads over to the officers, “You can do justice here!” Both sides are caught off guard, still frozen in position.
A 6-foot-tall man wearing jeans and a plain shirt puts his arm around him.
In broken English he says, “Let’s talk.” “Are you a police officer?” Eddie is on fire.
“Then don’t touch me. I will submit to a police officer, but I will not let you touch me,” Eddie spins out of his hold and continues to protest.
Four casually dressed men chase the crowd away. “Come with us,” they tell him.
“Are you police?”
Two of the men grip his arms behind his back, one tugs onto his shirt collar, and the other stands in front.
“Then don’t touch me.”
They back off. Eddie pushes the man in front of him. “Send a police officer to me. I want to be arrested.”
Within half an hour, a police officer approaches Eddie and takes him down the street to a tent to be searched. He empties his pockets and is careful to put his phone face down. The officer takes all of Eddie’s belongings— his money, passport and phone, which is still audio live streaming.
“If you cooperate, we’ll get you out of this mess,” the officer says.
“I don’t want to talk.” He knew they were playing good cop, bad cop. “The only way you can help me is if you arrest me. I broke your laws.”
Another officer enters the tent. “Is this the guy who did the hotel rooms?”
A sense of pride curses his lips as he releases a subtle grin. He keeps them guessing. “I want to talk to my lawyer.”
The same four men that bothered him during his protest at Tiananmen Square escort him to into a sleek, black Audi A6. Eddie slides into the back middle seat of the clean, leather interior Audi. Two sitting in the driver and passenger set, and the two men in Hawaiian shirts sitting next to him.
Eddie knew the reason the men weren’t in their uniform. The men kept their faces forward, while Eddie glanced in each direction. He felt uncomfortable. “Nice car!” He briefly broke the silence. He knew he was a dead man walking. The driver revs the engine and jolts off the curb. The phone was still on. Eddie had to keep his team and everyone else listening and cued in.
“Looks like we’re heading northbound, we’re turning left.” The men in Hawaiian shirts look at each other and shrug. “The Forbidden City is on my right. We’re turning left into an alley. This is no police station.”
Eddie could only imagine what his wife, kids and team were thinking back home. They pull into a dark secluded area and stop in front of a worn down, abandoned building. The only light source was a house about 100 yards up. Eddie was thankful the officers hadn’t noticed the phone. The two men sitting in the front get out the car. The other two sitting next to him stay. Six police officers in uniform come out from behind the building and give the two in Hawaiian shirts a signal to proceed. Eddie knew exactly what this was. It didn’t look like a prison, nor was he arrested. This was a black site, an off the radar illegal prison, where these men were able to do whatever they wanted to him.
The two men took both his arms pulling him into the building. Dead man walking.
The tall female officer gives a final kick to Eddie’s gut. Fully conscious, he bites his tongue refraining from saying, “Is this as tough as it gets?” He felt like he was being spanked by his mother. He holds back his laugh.
The four men rush in to pull her away and out of the room.
By the third round of interrogations, the police officers’ eyes were half open. It was some time around 3 a.m. Eddie wouldn’t give them any information unless he was put in jail.
“Don’t you know we can make you disappear?” an officer threatens him. “We can do things to you. We can put you in prison with criminals that will rape you. If you don’t cooperate with us, we will make sure you disappear. Do you understand?”
He kept his head down. In the Marines, he learned how to act under interrogation. “Don’t look at their face. Show respect and be firm in your answers,” he remembers his former Marine sergeant yelling.
He tells the translator to tell the officer, “With all due respect, I will not answer his questions until I have my lawyer here with me.
I want to be arrested. He said he can put me in jail, let’s start with that right now.”
The translator begs him to change his answer. Eddie adds, “I want to see your system of justice with my own eyes. Tell him exactly what I told you and don’t sugar coat it.” The translator obeys and repeats his message. The officer stomps out the room in fury. Eddie can hear him screaming with two other guards from behind the shut door.
It is now dawn. By the end of the fifth, and final, interrogation round, the guards (had) discovered where the SIM card was.
They placed the phone and SIM card on the table. He knew he had to get rid of it.
One guard steps out for a cigarette, while the other naps. Eddie takes the SIM card, chews it up and presses it in between two openings in the wall. It’s now noon the next day. Three officers, whom Eddie had never seen before, walk into the room.
“A decision was made. You’re going home.”
“You can’t deport me. I broke your laws. You have to arrest me.” This was the last win-win Eddie wanted.
“You have no say.” The officer hands him a stack of papers to sign.
“It’s in Chinese. I can’t read this.”
The officer explains it’s merely an inventory of his things and in order to get them back, he needs to sign them. Eddie refuses, trying to think of a way to get into jail. Eddie is escorted into a police car with one police car driving ahead to clear a path and another trailing behind. He thinks of ways he can stay in China.
“You know, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves … as a police force,” he taunts the two officers.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m a 58 year old man and you guys couldn’t find me. Shame on you.”
“Nevermind that. You’re leaving.”
Eddie could see from the rear view mirror the officer driving was a little bothered. “That would never happen in America.”
The officer’s head springs up, but he controls his anger.
“Do you know where I was hiding for 18 days? You couldn’t find me, a 58-year-old man?”
“On your military base.” The officer doesn’t believe him and tells him to name the place.
“Barachu. And I can tell you exactly how I got in, slipped through your guards and hid there for 18 days.”
The officer’s eyes widen and he grips onto the steering wheel, making a quick swerve. He calms down. “Nevermind. Nevermind. You’re leaving.” The police car pulls up to the China Air airport and takes Eddie through a backway to the next flight to San Francisco.
“I’m from LA though.” At this point Eddie knew he was going home and tries to tick the officers as much as possible. He asks,
“I’m a club member of China Air. Can I get these miles added to my membership?”
They look at him in disbelief.
The officer puts both hands on top of his head. “Are you crazy!?” Eddie smiles and boards the flight to San Francisco.
After taking another flight to Los Angeles, he is welcomed by friends, family and media at the airport. Eddie arrives at the church in La Puente. It’s not how he left it.
Members of the church had painted the building red, from top to bottom on Sunday, Aug. 17. Across the side of the building they painted, “Gadfly Project. Let my people go.”
They named this day, “Red Sunday,” in honor of Eddie’s heroic actions.
Media outlets such as the San Gabriel Tribune, CNN and the Associated Press interviewed Eddie, who received the Human
Rights Award by the Asian Pacific Rights Foundation. Later that month, Bob Fu, director of China Aid, called Eddie proposing to open up a West Coast office for China Aid and named him director.
Now the West Coast Director for China Aid, Eddie is the safe house for religious refugees who have fled their country due to religious persecution. He is currently expanding China Aid’s efforts to Persians and Iranians who have also been persecuted for their beliefs. Eddie paid for the hotels’ “damages” out of his own pocket. However, the goal was never to cause destruction, but to make a statement about human and religious rights around the world.