A rescue drive for an American detained in China for the past six months is making its way to Lake Charles.

Family and friends of Dr. Charles Lee, who has been physically and mentally tortured while detained in China, are holding a Coast-to-Coast rescue drive to generate awareness of the abuses and injustice imposed on Lee.

August is National Rescue Month and Lee's friends are making a desperate effort to save Lee. They will travel to the Chinese Consulate in Houston and then through the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Lee was arrested at the Guangzhou Airport on Jan. 22. He was later rushed through a one-day show trial and sentenced to a three-year prison term for his intention to expose human rights violations suffered by Falun Gong practitioners in China, according to rescue drive planners.

China's former president, Jiang Zemin, outlawed the peaceful practice of Falun Gong in 1999. Lee sent a 95-page letter to friends stating he was beaten by police, deprived of sleep for three days and was handcuffed in awkward positions for as long as 130 hours.

The rescue drive will collect signatures from the public, as well as from elected officials urging Lee's release. The drive will make its way to Lake Charles at 10 a.m. today, Aug. 17, in front of the Lake Charles City Hall, 326 Pujo St.

The drive will also feature a photo exhibit and speeches. Sponsors of the drive are Friends of Charles Lee, Global Mission to Rescue Persecuted Falun Gong Practitioners and Friends of Falun Gong.

Signatures collected will be presented to various government officials, including the State Department.

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