(Clearwisdom.net) When California resident Dr. Charles Li went to China in January he found himself being held as a political prisoner for practicing a method of meditation that's common in many countries, including the United States.

Li, a U.S. citizen, was detained at the Guangzhou airport and later arrested. He was taken to the Yangzhou Detention Center where he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Three Houston residents were at San Marcos City Hall Thursday to raise awareness about Li's imprisonment and the thousands of Chinese citizens who are tortured in their country for practicing Falun Gong. Falun Gong was banned in China in 1999 by Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

"In China people are arrested for this and brutally tortured," said Jason Wang. Wang, along with Ming Zeng and Chung Lao have stopped in Round Rock, Temple, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Seguin and Austin this week.

"There is a nationwide campaign. We want the mayors of the cities to help us to raise awareness of the persecution that's going on," Wang said. "The dictator of China has become uncomfortable with the people practicing Falun Gong because they were outnumbering the Chinese Communist ideas."

The three travelers are also explaining the principles of Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa.

"Falun Gong is a peaceful exercise and meditation practice for improving the body," Wang said. Falun Gong is not associated with a particular religion and can be practiced by young and old, Wang said. It's teachings are based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.

Lao teaches Falun Gong to several Americans in the Houston area.

Ming, a geophysical engineer, says her mother and sister in China have been subjected to torture and brainwashing sessions for practicing Falun Gong.

"My mom was very ill and when she started practicing Falun she became well and healthy," Ming said. "But now she's being persecuted and we are very worried."

While Beijing has arrested and imprisoned hundreds of Falun Gong members since the movement was outlawed, followers continue to protest around the world and in Hong Kong where the [group] is still a legally registered [group]. It is estimated that about 100 million people practice Falun Gong in China.

For more information on the Charles Li appeal, visit www.rescueourfamilies.org