Bay City News Report Monday, March 24, 2003


Dozens of people are expected to take part in a demonstration at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco today to protest the sentencing of Falun Gong practitioner Dr. Charles Lee. Friends of Lee and Falun Gong supporters will meet at 1 p.m. in front of the consulate at 1450 Laguna St. to speak out against the three-year sentence handed down in a Chinese courtroom Friday, condemning the Menlo Park resident, personal friend Sherry Zhang said today.

Lee was arrested on Jan. 22 after arriving at a Chinese airport for a planned visit with family members for the Lunar New Year. The Chinese government said the American was arrested for intending to sabotage Chinese television and radio broadcast equipment, Zhang said.

The practice of Falun Gong in China, which uses energizing exercises to invigorate the body and is based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, was banned in 1999 by the Chinese government. Zhang said hundreds of people have been arrested since.

"This time they extended it to an American and this is the first time an American has been arrested for practicing Falun Gong,'' Zhang said.