PRESS STATEMENT -- May 28, 2003 Falun Dafa Information Center,

Press Statement from the Falun Dafa Information Center

American Held in Chinese Prison for

Dr. Charles Li, a U.S. citizen, is charged with "preparing" to expose a systemic persecution that is killing people in China, and one that the Chinese leadership had gone to great lengths to cover up.

NEW YORK (FDI) -- In April, when Dr. Jiang Yanyong blew the whistle on the SARS cover-up in China, the international community hailed him as a hero -- one who put the lives and well-being of the people before concerns for his own personal safety.

Approximately a month before, however, Chinese authorities had imprisoned a U.S. Citizen, Dr. Charles Li, charging him with "preparing" to do some very similar whistle-blowing of his own.

Like Dr. Jiang, the acts Dr. Li is charged with would have forced greater visibility of an endemic problem that is killing people, and one that the Chinese leadership has gone to great lengths to cover up.

Like Dr. Jiang, the acts Dr. Li is charged with would necessitate putting the interests of others before himself in order to force this visibility.

On January 22, Dr. Li was detained and subsequently charged with "preparing" to tap into Chinese state-run television and broadcast programs exposing the persecution of Falun Gong. (news)

The programs provide information from human rights organizations, world media and other news sources that are readily available to those living outside China (press statement). Inside China, however, where people live under a regime that strictly controls what they see, read and hear about Falun Gong, these programs are often the first real glimpse people have of a persecution happening in their own country that has left thousands dead and over 100,000 illegally imprisoned (sources).

Chinese authorities call this act of tapping broadcast signals "sabotage."

On March 21, in a "show trial" lasting less than a day, Dr. Li was tried and convicted of "preparing" to "sabotage." On May 15, Dr. Li's fiancée, Ms. Yeong-ching Foo was notified that Dr. Li's appeal had been rejected six days earlier and that he had been sent to Nanjing Prison in Jiangsu Province.

Dr. Li has been held in complete isolation from friends, family and third-party media from overseas since he was first detained in January 22, 2003. His fiancée has neither been allowed to speak with him nor have her letters delivered to him.

According to a U.S. consulate official, however, Dr. Li is refusing to part-take in the daily schedule for inmates because he believes that he is being unjustly held. Dr. Li also continues to practice the Falun Gong exercises and meditation despite pressure and intimidation from prison guards.

Indeed, Dr. Li is now being subjected to some of the very same human rights violations that Chinese officials allege he was "preparing" to expose, as they use a "show trial" to imprison him, isolation to try to break his will and pressure tactics to force him to give up his beliefs.

If Dr. Li did not commit the acts for which he is charged, he must be immediately returned to the United States because he is innocent of the charges.

If Dr. Li did commit the acts for which he is charged, he must be immediately returned to the United States because he is a hero who has sought to bring greater transparency and visibility to a systematic persecution that is killing people every day.

Either way, a Chinese prison is the last place this American belongs. Dr. Charles Li must be released -- unconditionally and immediately.

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PRESS STATEMENT -- May 28, 2003

Falun Dafa Information Center,


Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa (about), is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance." It is a practice that was taught in private for thousands of years before being made public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture, but it is distinct and separate from other practices such as the religions of Buddhism and Taoism. Since its introduction in 1992, it quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China, and is now practiced in over 50 countries.

With government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun Gong, China's President Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999 (report), fearful of anything touching the hearts and minds of more citizens than the Communist Party. Unable to crush the spirit of millions who had experienced improved health and positive life changes from Falun Gong, Jiang's regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while quietly imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it.

The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of 711 deaths (reports / sources) since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. Government officials inside China, however, report that the actual death toll is well over 1,600, while expert sources estimate that figure to be much higher. Hundreds of thousands have been detained, with more than 100,000 being sentenced to forced labor camps, typically without trial.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE FALUN DAFA INFORMATION CENTER -- Gail Rachlin 917-501-4441, Levi Browde 914-720-0963, Erping Zhang 646-533-6147, or Feng Yuan 917-941-1097. Email:, Website: