February 14, 2003

Mr. Douglas G. Spelman
Consul General
U.S. Consulate/Shanghai

Dear Doug:

I want to convey to you once again appreciation for the excellent job you and all your staff did in making the recent Congressional Delegation's visit to Shanghai an outstanding success. I have heard Chairman Hyde say on more than one occasion how deeply impressed he was by the Consulate which, with limited staff resources, provided exceptional support. Thanks again.

I am writing to you today, at the direction of our Committee Staff Director, Tom Mooney, to raise an issue involving consular and human rights concerns which has been brought to the attention of the Chairman not only by his constituents in Chicago but by concerned persons throughout the United States. The Committee has received a continued series of phone calls, faxes and e-mails for the past two weeks at an unprecedented level. The case being raised is the detention just before Chinese New Year of U.S. citizen Charles Li. One group of Chairman Hyde's constituents was so concerned over the case that they drove through a snow storm from Chicago to Washington, D.C. to make their concern personally known to the Committee. In addition, Jamie McCormick, Staff Director for the East Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, and I met with Charles Li's fiancée, Ms. Yeong Ching Foo, and Nancy Chen, the Australian citizen and Falun Gong practitioner who was detained in China, two days ago to be briefed on the case. We were advised in that meeting that Mr. Charles Li has been moved and is now in the jurisdiction of the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai.

The Committee therefore requests that you provide us with current information on Mr. Charles Li's detention, his current whereabouts, the status of his health, consular visitation, and prospects for his early release, to the extent you are able under the provisions of the Privacy Act. Mr. Li's fiancée, Ms. Foo, stated she has been directly called by the Consulate, so Mr. Li apparently waived his privacy rights with regard to her. She is naturally very distressed by Mr. Li's detention and we commend you for keeping her fully appraised of the situation and encourage you to continue to do so.

Thank you for your prompt consideration of this matter.


Dennis P. Halpin
Committee on International Relations