Members of U.S. Congress Demand China Release American Falun Gong Practitioner
U.S. Ambassador Greatly Concerned, Personally Raises Case with Chinese Foreign Ministry
WASHINGTON (FDI) -- In a joint letter dated Mar. 13 and addressed to the U.S. Ambassador in Beijing, Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) called for the immediate release of Dr. Charles Li, a U.S. citizen and Falun Gong practitioner from Menlo Park, California, from detention in China.
In a joint letter addressed to the U.S. Ambassador in Beijing, Congressman Lantos and Congresswoman Eshoo called for the immediate release of Dr. Charles Li, an American Falun Gong practitioner from California.
"We respectfully ask for your personal intervention on Dr. Liís behalf at the highest levels of the Chinese government."
-- U.S. Reps. Lantos & Eshoo
Dr. Li is scheduled to go on trial Mar. 21 in what many China watchers are calling a "show trial" -- a formality frequently employed by the Chinese regime to lend legitimacy to the practice of imprisoning Falun Gong practitioners solely for their beliefs.
"Mr. Ambassador, the manner in which Dr. Li has been treated is outrageous," the letter states. "We respectfully ask for your personal intervention on Dr. Liís behalf at the highest levels of the Chinese government. Dr. Li must be allowed to return home immediately to his fiancťe, and resume his life here in the United States."
The letter also expressed appreciation for the Ambassadorís efforts on behalf of prisoners of conscience in China. "Because of your personal intervention, and the hard work of the entire Embassy staff," the letter reads, "many people imprisoned for speaking their minds or practicing their religions are once again leading free lives."
U.S. Ambassador Replies
On Mar. 17, the U.S. Ambassador, Clark T. Randt, Jr., replied saying he has "personally raised Dr. Lee[Li]ís case with senior officials from Chinaís Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including again yesterday with Director General Li Baodong."
Ambassador Randt went on to say that Dr. Liís case was of "great concern to my entire China Mission and that I will continue to work on this matter personally."
Dr. Li was detained at Guangzhou Airport shortly after landing there on January 22, 2003 en route to visit family and friends during the Chinese New Year (news). He was then transferred approximately 1,000 miles away to the Yangzhou Detention Center in Jiangsu Province where he has been held ever since.
On February 21, eighty-three U.S. congressional representatives from both parties signed a dear-colleague letter addressed to the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. demanding the Chinese government to immediately release Dr. Li. (news).
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Falun Dafa Information Center, www.faluninfo.net
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa (about), is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance." It is a practice that was taught in private for thousands of years before being made public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture, but it is distinct and separate from other practices such as the religions of Buddhism and Taoism. Since its introduction in 1992, it quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China, and is now practiced in over 50 countries.
With government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun Gong, China's President Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999 (report), fearful of anything touching the hearts and minds of more citizens than the Communist Party. Unable to crush the spirit of millions who had experienced improved health and positive life changes from Falun Gong, Jiang's regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while quietly imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it.
The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of 634 deaths (reports / sources) since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. Government officials inside China, however, report that the actual death toll is well over 1,600, while expert sources estimate that figure to be much higher. Hundreds of thousands have been detained, with more than 100,000 being sentenced to forced labor camps, typically without trial.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE FALUN DAFA INFORMATION CENTER
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