Six activists visited Killeen Wednesday in an effort to bring attention to one American's plight in communist China.
Jason Wang led the group from Houston to the Killeen City Hall to tell the story of Dr. Charles Li of California and to appeal for Li's release.
Wang said the doctor was detained in China last month when he entered the country to visit his parents. Wang said Li, like many Chinese practitioners of Falun Gong, is being persecuted by the Chinese government.
Falun Gong has been described as a practice of meditation and exercises focusing on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.
Mary Chin, part of the Houston group, said that before she practiced Falun Gong she suffered from high blood pressure and heart trouble.
"Now I don't need any medicine," said Chin, 64.
Chin's claims of the benefits of Falun Gong are typical, said Mao Tsai of Houston. Other practitioners [spoke of] relief from long-term illnesses, injury, depression and drug addiction.
Ming Zeng said her own 70-year-old mother who lives in communist China saw her white hair turn to black after practicing the Falun Gong exercises.
In May 2000, Zeng said her mother was detained by Chinese police. Since then, Zeng's family has spent much money and effort to free her. But Zeng's mother has been detained again.
"We have no money left to rescue her again," Zeng said. "It is so painful."
Tsai said he suspects that communist China feels apprehensive about the Falun Gong movement that was practiced privately for thousands of years, but became public around 1992.
"They think it challenges their power," Tsai said. "But that is stupid. It is such a good benefit for physical and mental health."
Although thousands of Chinese Falun Gong practitioners may be experiencing torture, Tsai said the group tells of the California doctor's plight in hopes the American government may help.
"We sometimes think the U.S. government would pay more attention when the Chinese detain a U.S. citizen," Tsai said. "We are asking the U.S. government and governments all over the world to support Falun Gong."
The Houston-based group is part of a nationwide effort to bring attention to the persecution of practitioners in China.
Wang said more than 100 million people in 60 countries are practicing Falun Gong.
The group directs people who wish to help to visit the Web site: rescueourfamilies.org. . .