(Clearwisdom.net) Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Zhang Li, from Shuangyashan City, Heilongjiang Province, was sentenced to nine years in prison by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities. She has been currently been detained for six years at the Harbin Women's Prison. Ms. Zhang's husband was also sentenced and imprisoned because he practiced Falun Gong, and he was later tortured to death, leaving their 9-year-old son without parents. Ms. Zhang Li has been on a hunger strike since March 7, 2008, and she is currently at the brink of death.

Many of Ms. Zhang's family members went to the Harbin Women's Prison to visit Zhang Li from a place 500 kilometers (311 miles) away. The prison authorities permitted only her mother-in-law, who is in her seventies, and her 9-year-old son to meet with Zhang Li. The other family members were not allowed to make contact with Ms. Zhang.

After meeting with her, Ms. Zhang's mother-in-law said that Zhang Li's life was in danger. Ms. Zhang's family then strongly requested that prison authorities release her immediately, but the authorities at the prison said they could not release her. Her family requested that the Harbin Women's Prison show a written guarantee for the safety of Zhang Li's life, but the prison authorities refused their request and said, "You can go anywhere to accuse us. We cannot release her." Ms. Zhang's family members requested to meet with the prison head and deputy head, but they were refused.

The next morning her family members went to the Prison Administration Bureau to meet the head, to ask that Ms. Zhang be released, but they were not allowed to meet with the prison head. Personnel from the appeals office took the same tone as the Harbin Women's Prison. They said they could not release her. Her family members tried to reason with them using various approaches, but they were not allowed to speak at all. The family was deceived by being told that they could talk in another room, but they were instead led out the door, and the door was closed and locked behind them. The armed police at the front door stopped them with a gun and did not allow them to go upstairs to meet the head.

Ms. Zhang is now at the brink of death. The Harbin Women's Prison must immediately and unconditionally release Zhang Li.

April 19, 2008