Press Conference Calling for Rescue of "American Hostage" in China Held at US National Press Club (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) February 14 was Valentine's Day. To rescue American citizen Charles Li, Falun Gong supporters in the Washington DC area held a press conference at the National Press Club urgently calling on the US government to rescue Charles Li from China as soon as possible.
|Fu Yongping, Dr. Charles Li's fiancée, calling for rescuing her fiancé||Falun Gong spokesperson, Mr. Zhang Erping , calling for rescuing Charles Li||Human Rights lawyer Mrs. Terri Marsh speaking at press conference|
Charles Li's fiancée Fu Yongqing said that Charles intended to go back China to visit his aged parents during the Chinese New Year and tell them the news of their engagement in person. Nobody had any idea that as soon as Charles stepped off the plane he would be taken to a detention center thousands of kilometers away. Ms. Fu said that when she thought of the many cruel torture methods the Chinese government had used on Falun Gong practitioners to make the prisoners of conscience "confess," she would not dare to imagine the situation Charles Li is facing now. At the occasion of Valentine's Day, the fact that Ms. Fu Yongqing could not be reunited with Charles made people at the press conference feel very sad. Fu Yongqing sincerely asked everyone to write to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Secretary of State Powell to save her fiancé with all available resources. Ms. Fu believed that with the help of people from all walks of life her fiancé will regain his freedom.
Falun Gong volunteer spokesperson Zhang Erping read a statement. The statement pointed out that two foreign citizens with Chinese origins were arrested on the same day. They are both Falun Gong practitioners, one (Australian citizen Nancy Chen) was secretly detained and was not allowed to contact the outside world. However, after ten days' detention and interrogation and with the intervention of the Australian government, she was released without criminal charges. On the contrary, American citizen Charles Li is still detained and is only allowed to be visited 30 minutes every month by officials of the US consulate. Charles Li denied any unfounded accusations against him. Until now the Chinese government had made charges many times but failed to provide any evidence. Charles deems himself a prisoner of conscience just because he is a Falun Gong practitioner. Mr. Zhang Erping further pointed out that from Nancy Chen's experience it is clearly demonstrated that any accusations of the Chinese government against Falun Gong are purely based on fabrications and slanders. This time it is directed toward US citizens and people can clearly see that it is playing the game of "Hostage Diplomacy." This exposes the nature of the persecution against Falun Gong in China. At the end of his speech, Mr. Zhang Erping thanked the efforts the US government has made in rescuing Charles and hoped that he could be released soon.
Human Rights lawyer Terri Marsh offered her analysis of the Chinese government's judiciary system. She said most of the trial cases are never open to the public, especially those cases of prisoners of conscience. From the very beginning all kinds of laws and regulations are very disadvantageous to the defendants, such as that defendants cannot get any legal help during the initial stage of the trial. The defendant's legal counsels find it very difficult to do research and gather evidence. The system tries to prevent the witnesses from talking to legal counsels of the defendants, etc. It is not surprising to hear that the Chinese court system sentence rate is as high as 98% and seldom will people appeal because they are afraid that they will be subjected to new accusations of crimes and their sentences will be heavier. Lawyer Marsh judged from many aspects of the Chinese judiciary system that Charles Li will not get a fair trial in China. Charles is a US citizen and should get any civil rights he deserves as in the US. Thus the US government should demand China release Charles Li and all US citizens detained in China.
Australian citizen Nancy Chen told in detail her encounters in China. On January 18 she returned Sichuan, China with her 6 year-old daughter to visit her parents. However while visiting her friends in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, she found she was followed by a bunch of people. Even though she was protected by the US consulate in Chengdu for a short time, soon she was arrested by over a dozen plain clothed police officers. During eight days of detention and interrogation, she was questioned over and over again. When she asked to contact the Australian Embassy they threatened that she would never see her daughter and family again. The police even openly told Nancy that they believed that the U.S. government backs and supports Falun Gong financially, and that western countries led by the U.S have been using the human rights issue of Falun Gong as an excuse in their attempt to overthrow the Chinese Communist Party's rule." While in detention, Nancy was also taken on a tour of the Nanmusi Women's Labor Camp in Zizhong City, Sichuan Province, where she saw with her own eyes how hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners are suffering from various tortures, for example, being forced to stand for extended periods of time, being isolated in small cells and being brainwashed. There are several hundred of such detention centers like she saw in China. Because of what she had experienced in China, Nancy wants to call upon the international community to help end this inhumane persecution and help free Falun Gong practitioner Charles Li. It is the very reason why she traveled thousands of miles from Australian to the US.
News agencies attending the press conference included Washington Post, VOA, and RFA. After the press conference, reporters interviewed each of the speakers. The press conference concluded at about 1:00 p.m.