China Detained an U.S. Falun Gong Practitioner

Dear Editor:

Extra: Texas Car-Tour to Rescue Charles Li will stop at Houston city hall on Saturday (2/23/03) at 10 AM for a press conference

I would like to bring an urgent matter to the attention of your readers. On January 22, a naturized U.S. citizen Dr. Charles Li from Northern California was arrested in China. He flew to China to visit his elderly parents for the Chinese New Year and to celebrate his birthday with his family in China. But he was snatched by police at the Guangzhou airport. Chinese agents illegally arrested Dr. Li simply because he is a Falun Gong practitioner. We are afraid that Dr. Li will not receive a fair trial to clear his name and return home to his fiance because Chinese officials are trumping up charges that could put Dr. Li in a Chinese jail for up to fifteen years. This arrest is an extension of the illegal persecution of Falun Gong in China. It seems now they are even targeting United States citizen for illegal prosecution.

What makes the dubious charges even worse is the lack of proper legal procedure in the Communist China. According to an August 24, 1999 AFP report: “The Chinese Government has ordered Chinese lawyers not to plead for Falun Gong practitioners. This order comes from the notices of Bureau of Justice to attorney offices in major cities.” More recently, instead of out-right denial of legal representation, lawyers are required to “strictly stay in accordance with the tone of the Central Government.” Without any legal procedure or with show trials of “legal proceedings,” since July 1999, over 100,000 Chinese Falun Gong practitioners have been sent to forced labor camps and prisons where they regularly face torture and “brainwashing classes.” The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of 569 deaths, while government officials inside China report that the actual death toll is more likely in the thousands. The U.S. Department of State has documented many of these cases of death and torture in its annual human rights report.

We feel that a strong stance from the U.S. government is essential and would be effective in getting Dr. Li released from the Chinese jail. On the same day Dr. Li was detained, an Australian citizen, Nancy Chen, was also detained in China by authorities because she practices Falun Gong. Ms. Chen, however, was released and allowed to return home after a few days as a result of firm and persistent efforts by the Australian government to obtain her release. Similar past efforts by the governments of Canada, Ireland, and other nations have secured the release for their illegally and unjustly detained residents and citizens who practice Falun Gong.

Freedom of belief is a cornerstone of our great nation. We cannot allow the Chinese Communist regime to persecute innocent U.S. citizens because of their beliefs.

We urge you to publicize this case, so that the U.S. Government will intervene as soon as possible. Thank you very much for your help on this matter.

Sincerely yours,

Mao TsaiFor Falun Gong Practitioners in Texas2210 Crystal Hills DriveHouston, Texas 77077713 270-2533281 870-9258(H)

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