Oct. 15, 2002

WASHINGTON -- About 50 Falun Gong [practitioners] demonstrating outside the Chinese Embassy on Monday plan to carry their protest to Texas next week for President Bush's meeting with Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

As the devotees meditated at the grassy park, organizers announced that [group] members with family being detained in China are driving from several cities to gather for Jiang's three-day visit to Texas, which begins Oct. 22.

John Wu, a speaker at the event, called on President Bush to bring up the issue of Falun Gong with Jiang and demand the release of [group] members detained in China.

Bush hosts the Chinese leader at his Crawford ranch on Oct. 25.

The Chinese government banned the movement in July 1999[...]. Meanwhile, the treatment of Falun Gong members in China has gained the sympathy of the international community and some members of Congress who argue for freedom from religious persecution.

"The brutal persecution against Falun Gong has ruined my whole family," said Xu Cailu, who is making the trip to Texas next week. His wife, Jia Xiaomei, was sent to a labor camp for practicing Falun Gong.

After being detained by Chinese police several times himself, Xu, an associate professor of engineering at Tsinghua University, [moved] to the United States in July.

Li Ding, a 28-year-old University of Maryland student from China, is making the drive to Texas over the next two days. He recalled a visit to Beijing in 1999, during which he and his wife were detained and interrogated by police for hours and eventually released.

"My case is very, very light. It's not even comparable to millions of other severe cases in China," said Li. "But I can feel the huge political pressure on Falun Gong practitioners in China."