Article Last Updated: Monday, February 10, 2003 - 3:44:17 AM MST

SAN FRANCISCO -- Nearly three weeks after Menlo Park resident Charles Li was arrested in China on charges of sabotaging Chinese television and radio broadcasts [Editor's note: Charles Li has denied the charges levied against him, saying the Chinese police arrested him because he practices Falun Gong], friends and fellow Falun Gong practitioners staged a protest walk through the streets of Chinatown Sunday afternoon to call attention to Li's case.

"We are trying to help rescue Charles from China," said Kerry Huang, a volunteer with the "Friends of Charles" group that started up as an offshoot of the Falun Dafa Information Center. "We worry about his safety. We want to get him back."

Around 50 Falun Gong practitioners from around the Bay Area gathered at Portsmouth Square in the heart of Chinatown, where they distributed pamphlets on Li's case and videotapes showing Falun Gong exercises.

After a brief rally, the demonstrators, bearing large white signs saying "Rescue Charles," took their march through the sunny streets crowded with weekend shoppers and tourists.

"This is also about bringing awareness," said Alex Ma, an El Cerrito resident, who says the meditative exercises of Falun Gong have helped his health immensely. "We want to gain the attention of President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and other congressional representatives."


Sherry Zhang, a spokeswoman for the Falun Gong Information Center in the Bay Area, said that Li's case has been taken up by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, who has circulated a letter on his behalf in Congress.

According to Zhang, Li remains in prison in Yangzhou, China and does not yet have legal representation. Zhang also stated that a New York law firm with experience with Falun Gong detainees may be called in to represent Li.,1413,87~11268~1170124,00.html