San Francisco: Practitioners Hold Press Conference to Announce Release of Dr. Charles Li's Manuscript (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) On June 9, 2003, Falun Gong practitioners held a press conference outside the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco in order to announce the release of American citizen and Falun Gong practitioner Dr. Charles Li's manuscript. The manuscript describes Charles' arrest on January 22, 2003 the moment he stepped off the airplane when he went back to China. Later he suffered torture, interrogation and imprisonment. The document also includes his three appeal letters totaling 69-pages. American consulate officials in China passed the 95-page document to Charles' fiancée, Ms. Yeong-ching Foo.
Charles wrote in his manuscript that he was immediately arrested when he stepped off the airplane at Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou, China on January 22, 2003. Police officers beat him up. He went on a hunger strike. He was deprived of sleep for three consecutive days and nights while a number of police officers took turns interrogating him. His hands were cuffed for more than 72 hours, and for most of the time, both of his hands were cuffed behind the back and he was unable to move. In particular, from 8 pm on January 27 to midnight, during the trip when he was transferred from Shanghai Pudong to Yangzhou, both of his hands were cuffed behind the back and the handcuffs were deliberately tightened so hard that they cut into his flesh, which was extremely painful. On the evening of the 24th, the police officers cuffed his hands behind the back and forcibly dragged the handcuff to pull him up, which caused terrible pain. The wounds can be seen on his wrists even now.
Charles Li also stated in his manuscript that his arrest immediately drew attention from the Chinese government. They thought about accusing him for telling people the facts about Falun Gong, but because he is an American citizen, any accusations related to Falun Gong would be associated with freedom of belief and therefore would be hard to carry out. They decided to avoid accusing him of anything related to Falun Gong; instead, they used the accusation of "wrecking radio and TV facilities" to persecute him. Charles Li said, "the law here is simply a tool used for persecution. There is no justice or objectivity so to speak."
Charles Li also pointed out: The purpose of imposing the accusation on him is to illegally persecute him. He was not only physically punished, beaten and tortured, his freedom of belief was also denied. During the three days from February 10 to 12, he was forced to watch videos defaming Falun Gong and its founder. His copy of Zhuan Falun was also confiscated. Even the book sent by American Consulate officials was also held out. His 69-page appeal letters were written at Yangzhou Detention center from March 27 to April 21 while he was continuously handcuffed for 130 hours in hot weather while he was made to wear the same winter clothes he was arrested in. After his appeal was rejected, he was transferred to the Nanjing Prison. On the afternoon of May 12, he was beaten again and forced to have his hair cut. One of his hands was cuffed to a metal bed. On the morning of May 13, he was forced to wear prison garb, and both of his hands were cuffed behind the back.
In the document, Charles Li said, "I wanted to use TV to explain to people the facts about the illegal ban and persecution of Falun Gong in China. The purpose was to stop this persecution as soon as possible and cease the various harms and dangers it has brought to China and its people."
In his appeal letters, Charles quotes Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution: "Citizens of the People's Republic of China have freedom of religious belief. Any state departments, social organizations or individuals cannot force citizens to believe or disbelieve religions." Article 41 states, "Chinese citizens have the right to appeal, impeach or prosecute any state organs and state government officials." Article 35 states, "Citizens have freedoms of speech, assembly and forming associations". Charles pointed out that Falun Gong practitioners are exercising the rights ensured by the Constitution. Around July 22, 1999, a great number of Falun Gong practitioners were illegally arrested. Later, some of them were sentenced to jail after the People's Congress issued the interpretation of the Article 300 of the Criminal Law on October 30. This way of doing things by first arresting people and then making laws to punish them not only violates the justice and objectivity of the law, but also severely breaches the implementation of the criminal law.
Charles also pointed out, "During the process of the unlawful persecution of Falun Gong, the media has played a role to mislead the public, call white black, and lodge false accusations against practitioners. The Tiananmen Square self-immolation incident that occurred on January 23, 2001, the 1400 cases, and the Beijing Fu Yibin homicide case were all examples of frame-ups for making excuses to persecute Falun Gong. The media have become a tool for a few leaders who insist on suppressing Falun Gong. They have been used to fabricate and spread lies to deceive and entrap people." "The reason why the illegal persecution of Falun Gong was able to be sustained for 44 months and still continue--one of the pivotal reasons is that the public is unable to know the true situation and are obscured by the lies. This not only paralyzes the social monitoring function of democratic societies which are ruled by law, it also hinders the legislative and executive systems from functioning and correcting judicial mistakes." He said, "To summarize, to let the public know the facts is an effective way to prevent the above dangerous practices. This is completely in accordance with the second element of the first item of Article 21 of the Criminal Law: namely, this action can indeed prevent or stop the on-going danger."
Charles Li also mentioned his purpose and request:
1) To let more people learn about and pay attention to the persecution of Falun Gong.
2) To stop this persecution as soon as possible.
3) To investigate and affix responsibility of the persecutors under the law.
4) To immediately withdraw his illegal conviction and unconditionally release him.
Falun Gong practitioner and Charles's friend, Ms. Sherry Zhang said during the press conference, "After I read through this document, I was very shocked. I originally thought that only Falun Gong practitioners in China are suffering the brutal persecution. Charles Li is an American citizen, they would not persecute him. Moreover, the Chinese authorities always claimed that Charles Li has been well treated. The Chinese government has been lying all along. They persecute American citizens the same way." Ms. Zhang said, "After reading the manuscript, I was really moved. Charles Li is really 'selfless' and all he wanted to do was to let the Chinese people learn the truth and avoid being deceived. Take SARS as an example: the Chinese government's cover-ups not only harmed the Chinese people but also imperiled people around the world. Therefore, Charles is our hero." In the end, Sherry Zhang said, "I hope kind-hearted American people who have a sense of justice will reach out helping hands and help bring Charles home. Meanwhile, we strongly demand that the Chinese government end the persecution of Falun Gong and immediately release Charles Li."