A Shattered Valentines Day
WASHINGTON DC (FDI) — Just a few weeks ago, 29-year-old software consultant Yeong-ching Foo had been thinking about wedding plans.
On January 28th her plans changed.
She received a call from the U.S. consulate in Shanghai informing her that her fiancé, Dr. Charles Li, had been arrested at the airport upon entering China to visit relatives for the Chinese New Year.
“He has done nothing wrong,” Ms. Foo says. “He is always kind hearted and helps others. The Chinese government is persecuting him because he practices Falun Gong.”
For more than two weeks, Ms. Foo has been working around the clock to build awareness of the plight of her husband-to-be and appeal for his immediate release.
“Yeong-Ching’s phone has been ringing constantly with requests for press interviews in both English and Mandarin Chinese,” says Adam Leining, a friend of Dr. Li’s who is helping with the rescue effort in Washington DC. “She’s had anywhere from 4 to 8 meetings a day with government officials and media… we’re determined to get Charles back immediately.”
Ms. Foo’s friends in different areas have mobilized media events, outdoor sit-ins and petitions as well.
The Human Rights Desk at the U.S. State Department reports having received hundreds of faxes and phone calls from concerned Americans who have learned of Dr. Li’s situation.
During the past two weeks, Ms. Foo says she has steadily gained her composure and confidence in speaking out. “At first I was shocked and scared,” she says, “But I know I have to do everything possible to help Charles.”
Ms. Foo continues, “Under Jiang Zemin’s regime there is no chance for a fair trial that would allow Charles to clear his name and return to the U.S., and so diplomatic efforts to rescue him are absolutely essential.”
Her persistence appears to be making a difference.
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo’s office has initiated a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter to gather signatures from the House of Representatives seeking Dr. Li’s immediate release. Congresswoman Eshoo intends to present the signatures to the Chinese Ambassador in Washington DC.
Congressman Tom Lantos, a long-time critic of China’s human rights record and a vocal advocate for those who practice Falun Gong, is preparing a statement to share with the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.
This past week, Ms. Foo has also met with the Commission on International Religious Freedom and the U.S. State Department.
“I will stay here [in Washington D.C.] as long as it takes,” Ms. Foo says. “If this were China, they might try to arrest me too. But in the United States, I can make a difference.”
She holds back her tears as she shows a picture of her fiancé. “Charles is an American citizen.” She pauses and then looks at his photo. “He should be coming home soon.”
Contacts for Interviews with Ms. Foo
- Adam Leining – +1 (415) 279-4407
- Sherry Zhang – +1 (415) 845-5295