Chinese Prison Tries to Brainwash American, Cuts-off Contact with U.S. Consulate
SAN FRANCISCO (FDI) - A U.S. citizen detained in China is being forced to undergo brainwashing programs against his spiritual beliefs, and has been cut off from the US consulate by jail officials.
In order to protest the escalating abuse, Dr. Charles Li of Menlo Park, California has embarked on a hunger strike. He has not eaten since July 14.
According to a phone conversation that Dr. Li's fiancée had with U.S. consular official Joshua Huck earlier this morning, Dr. Li's situation has worsened dramatically over the past several weeks of detention.
Since June 27, the prison has tried to "reeducate" Dr. Li five times. On July 8, he refused to attend a brainwashing session. An inmate, encouraged by prison guards, twisted his arm and knocked him down to the ground. He then dragged Dr. Li down a flight of stairs. The following day, Dr. Li again refused to attend and was physically abused once more. During each brainwashing session, the prison guards force Dr. Li to watch two hours of anti-Falun Gong propaganda produced by the Communist Party.
The prison also increased the number of inmates in Dr. Li's cell from four to ten. They beat him whenever he tries to do the Falun Gong meditation practice. According to the U.S. consulate, Dr. Li has told them that he now has 29 bruises on his body, including very large marks.
According to the consular official, Dr. Li has submitted six requests to speak with him, but none were received.
"[Charles] has also been writing weekly letters to the U.S. consular official that are intended for me," says his fiancée, Ms. Yeong-Ching Foo, "but none of these have been received either. They have been confiscated, and the prison does not allow Charles to rewrite them."
The US consulate only found out about these letters and the abuses when they called Dr. Li after they felt something was wrong once they stopped receiving the weekly letters he has been writing them since June.
Dr. Li was arrested nearly six months ago as soon as he got off the airplane in China's Guangzhou Airport (news). In March, Dr. Li was sentenced to three years in Nanjing Prison for planning to use cable TV to broadcast, amidst the information blockage, evidence of human rights violations in Jiang Zemin's persecution of Falun Gong.
Dr. Li previously began a hunger strike at the end of May in order to demand that a 96-page letter (about) he wrote while in jail, which detailed the abuse he was suffering, be released to the U.S. consulate. After eight days without food and after Dr. Li endured forced feedings through the nose, the prison gave in and the information was released.
This time the prison summoned Dr. Li's elderly and ill parents in order to try to persuade him to stop the hunger strike. An inmate in his prison has also threatened Dr. Li's life.
"Charles went to China not for himself but for others," says Dr. Li's friend Sherry Zhang. "It is devastating for me to hear about what he is now being put through. I hope our U.S. government will speak out stronger so that the Chinese government doesn't think that they can get away with doing this to a U.S. citizen."
The consular official stated that he does not feel that the Chinese prison is listening to him or any of the requests and complaints that he has voiced as a consular official. Mr. Huck has also informed the U.S. State Department about these recent developments and is requesting their support.
For interviews with Dr. Li's fiancée, Ms. Yeong-Ching Foo, please contact Ms. Sherry Zhang 415?845?5295 or Mr. Leeshai Lemish 909?217?8440.
NEWS - Jul. 18, 2003
Falun Dafa Information Center, www.faluninfo.net
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.
Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of 756 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
Contacts: Gail Rachlin (+1 917-501-4441), Levi Browde (+1 914-720-0963), Erping Zhang (+1 646-533-6147), or Feng Yuan (+1 917-941-1097).
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