February 6, 2003, Thursday, BC cycle

A group of U.S. congressmen is asking for the "immediate release" of 37 people being held in China for practicing Falun Gong, supporters of the banned spiritual movement said Thursday.

"The Chinese government continues to imprison, torture, and murder" practitioners, the Falun Dafa Information Center said in an e-mail, quoting a Jan. 22 letter by 10 congressmen from New Jersey to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. "It is extremely disheartening to see that little progress has been made with respect to ending the persecution."


The letter expressed a special interest toward 37 detained members with family in America, asking the State Department to appeal to the Chinese government "for the immediate release of these persons."

The letter was signed by Rep. Rob Andrews, D-Haddon Heights, and nine other New Jersey House members.

In its statement, the New York-based Falun Dafa center also mentioned the case of Charles Li, of Menlo Park, Calif., who was detained Jan. 22 at Guangzhou airport in southern China.


The group said Li has denied the [false charges against him], which could carry a penalty of up to 15 years in prison, and believes he is being treated as a political prisoner because he practices Falun Gong.