Illinois: Press Conference to Rescue Charles Lee, an Alumnus of the University of Illinois (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) On February 14, 2005, practitioners at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) held a press conference on campus to rescue Falun Gong practitioner Charles Lee, an alumnus of the university. Mr. Mark Cnudde, a representative of the Global Organization to Rescue Charles Lee, called on Chinese authorities to release Charles.
Charles Lee's fiance', Yeong-Ching Foo
Mr. Mark Cnudde
During the press conference, Charles Lee's fiance', Ms. Yeong-Ching Foo, detailed the inhuman treatments that Charles has been suffering in Nanjing Prison in China and expressed her deep concern about Charles' failing health. UIUC professor Hao Feng read a letter from the congresswoman of Charles' home district urging the Chinese government to release Lee immediately. Professor Thomson also read a support letter from Peter Slavin, the president of the Massachusetts General Hospital where Charles worked years ago.
U.S. citizen Charles Lee arrived at Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou City on January 22, 2003. He was arrested at customs and then detained for nearly two months. On March 20, 2003, Dr. Lee was accused in a Yangzhou Court in Jiangsu of "sabotaging TV and/or radio equipment" and sentenced to 3.5 years in prison and deportation. On March 31, 2003, Charles appealed to a higher court; on May 8, his appeal was refused. On May 12, he was transferred to Nanjing Prison from Yangzhou Detention Center. In the prison, Charles has gone through all kinds of mental and physical abuse such as beating, force-feeding and brainwashing. To date, Charles has been detained in the prison for nearly 2 years.
The press conference was on Valentines' Day. In the cold wind, Ms. Yeong-Ching Foo narrated how Charles had been forced to work overtime doing hard labor producing Christmas lights and shoes in the presence of toxic glues. Due to the continuous torture, Charles' health condition has dramatically deteriorated recently: he has developed a heart condition and shortness of breath. Ms. Foo said that Charles' mother passed away on January 25, 2005 in her home. When Charles got back home from the prison, his mother had already died 40 minutes earlier. After a few minutes, he was forcefully taken back to prison again.
Officials in the Shanghai U.S. Consulate have visited Charles in the Nanjing Prison many times. State Department Consular Affairs Spokeswoman Kelly Shannon said that officials from the Consulate in Shanghai visited U.S. citizen Charles Lee more than 50 times since his illegal arrest in the beginning of 2003.
There have been continuous appeals taking place outside of China urging the unconditional release of Charles in the past two years. Through Charles' plight, many Americans have learned about the brutal persecution and murder of Chinese Falun Gong practitioners in China, and thus joined the forces of support. Many citizens have said that Dr. Charles Lee had greatly sacrificed in order to clarify the truth of the persecution to the Chinese people and his noble act is admirable.