[Editor's note: This is translation from Chinese. Thus, the quote may not be accurately the original words.]

Mr. Charles Li, an American citizen who was sentenced to three years in prison by the Chinese government, started a hunger strike on May 25 in the Nanjing Prison where he is being detained to protest his unfair treatment. An Epochtimes [an international Chinese-language newspaper] journalist interviewed U.S. State Department spokesman Mr. Stuart Patt by telephone on May 30. Below is an excerpt of Mr. Patt's words.

Mr. Patt said, "On the night of May 27, Charles Li started the hunger strike. In the past three weeks, due to SARS related factors, the US embassy officials hadn't been able to pay him any visits. However, they have talked to Dr. Li four times on the phone, each time for about 45 minutes to one hour."

"We already informed the prison authorities that they were fully responsible for Dr. Li's health. We also told the Chinese officials to resolve the hunger strike issue as soon as possible."

"If China decides to use forcible methods to stop Dr. Li from hunger striking, they must inform us."

"If Charles Li is injured because of his hunger strike, we will hold the relevant Chinese officials responsible."