September 2, 2003

Detroit - About a dozen Falun Gong practitioners gathered at Hart Plaza on Monday to protest the imprisonment in China of Charles Li, a U.S. citizen who supporters say was arrested for his belief in the system of meditation.

Li's supporters are making a trip from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to highlight the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China, said Tim Sun, a computer engineer from Troy.

"Charles Li is the first American citizen to be jailed in China for his belief in Falun Gong," he said. Li is from Menlo Park, Calif., and was arrested in January.

Introduced in 1992 by founder Li Hongzhi, Falun Gong is a form of exercise and meditation with teachings based on the principles of Buddhism and Taoism.[Editor's note: Falun Gong teaches principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance, which are independent from Buddhism or Taoism] [...]

Sun said there are as many as 100 million practitioners of Falun Gong in China. There are nearly a dozen Falun Gong practice sites in the Detroit area, including in Ann Arbor, Troy, Southfield and Rochester Hills.

By Alejandro Bodipo-Memba