American Charles Lee Free, Safe in California

After Three Years of Unlawful Imprisonment in China, Dr. Charles Lee Comes Home

Dr. Charles Lee, an American citizen, takes questions from reporters upon returning to California after three years of illegal imprisonment and torture in China.

Dr. Charles Lee, an American citizen, takes questions from reporters upon returning to California after three years of illegal imprisonment and torture in China.

SAN FRANCISCO (FDI) – The Falun Dafa Information Center announced today that U.S. citizen Dr. Charles Lee has returned safely to his home state of California following three years of mental and physical abuse in a Chinese prison. Lee arrived Saturday.

Lee was greeted by more than 100 well-wishers upon arrival at San Francisco International Airport. After embracing his fiancée, Ms. Yeong-ching Foo, Lee took questions from reporters.

Lee’s ordeal began in January 2003, when he traveled to China wishing to expose human rights violations against practitioners of the Falun Gong. He was arrested immediately after landing in Guangzhou. (news) Two months later, he was rushed through a one-day show-trial and sentenced to three years in prison. (news)

During his imprisonment, Lee was subjected to beatings, sleep depravation, forced labor, and other forms of torture and abuse. Lee says his captors repeatedly applied intense pressure on him to give up his beliefs and adopt the Communist Party line. Brainwashing sessions lasted many hours at a time.

“They used all possible measures,” Lee said. “Many of them are very hard to put into words. They give you pressure all the time, they give you physical and psychological coercion, torture… all the time. You cannot just escape from the pressure — that’s tough stuff.”

When asked what he missed most about America, Lee replied, “freedom, truly.”

During Lee’s three-year ordeal, thousands of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters rallied in the U.S. and around the world to appeal for his release. (news) U.S. members of Congress authored a joint letter on Lee’s behalf, (news) and supporters in Washington say his case was raised with President Bush. Lee has been the focus of many media reports.

Falun Gong practitioners in San Francisco are planning a press conference for Tuesday in San Francisco, at which time Lee will discuss in detail the mistreatment he suffered in captivity in China. Lee offers a first-hand look at the realities and inner workings of China’s notorious prison system.

To arrange interviews, contact: Alicia Zhao, 650-544-3789 or Dr. Sherry Zhang, 415-845-5295