April 2, 2003


Undaunted by a three-year prison sentence for Charles Li, supporters of the Menlo Park Falun Gong practitioner are continuing to rally for his release from Chinese authorities.

"The sentence is not the end," friend Sherry Zhang said.

Mr. Li, an importer-exporter, was sentenced March 21 by a Chinese court after being arrested in China in January on charges of sabotaging radio and television broadcast systems.

The sentence apparently included a provision that Mr. Li would be expelled from China, but it is not clear when that might happen, Ms. Zhang said. Therefore, she says it's a critical time to voice concern.

"China without strong opposition from the U.S. will keep him for a long time before expelling him," she said.

Supporters of Mr. Li demonstrated at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco after the sentencing, and are writing to U.S. senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo. Ms. Zhang said she would like a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives urging China to release Mr. Li because he is being held as a prisoner of conscience.