American on Hunger Strike in Chinese Prison
SAN FRANCISCO (FDI) – According to a U.S. consulate official in Shanghai, an American being held in a Chinese prison is on the fourth day of a hunger strike to peacefully protest severe human rights violations.
Dr. Charles Li was imprisoned in China after being ushered through a “show trial” in April for allegedly “preparing” to tap into Chinese state-run T.V. and broadcast programs exposing the persecution of Falun Gong in China. (news)
“Dr. Li is now being subjected to some of the very same human rights violations that Chinese officials allege he was “preparing” to expose, as they use a ‘show trial’ to imprison him, isolation to try to break his will and pressure tactics to force him to give up his beliefs,” says Falun Dafa Information Center spokesman, Mr. Erping Zhang.
“Faced with no rule-of-law,” continues Mr. Zhang, “it appears Dr. Li has chosen the only way that may be available to him to peacefully protest this injustice.”
Specifically, a U.S. official has said that Dr. Li initiated the hunger strike for three reasons:
1. His illegal detention by the Chinese regime.
2. The Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.
3. The unlawful treatment he has received from prison guards and officials.
Officials at the Nanjing Prison where Dr. Li is being held have denied him all contact with his fiancée, Ms. Yeong-ching Foo. Chinese officials have also refused to allow U.S. consulate representatives to visit him, citing the severe spread of SARS in the region where the Nanjing Prison is located.
Moreover, they have denied him the right to practice Falun Gong by stripping him of his Falun Gong books and pressuring him not to practice.
While imprisoned, Dr. Li wrote a 96 page document to the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai. According to a U.S. consulate official, however, Nanjing Prison officials removed 8 pages out of the document that contained specific information regarding Dr. Li’s request to become a plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit against former Chinese leader, Jiang Zemin, which was filed in U.S. District Court in October, 2002. (news)
A U.S. consulate official told Ms. Foo that the Chinese government is “completely responsible” for Dr. Li’s well-being. “The U.S. government and the American people are watching this case closely and seriously,” the consulate official told Ms. Foo.
Mr. Zhang adds, “We concur with the U.S. government officials…the Chinese government is completely responsible for Dr. Li’s well-being. We also ask the U.S. government and the international community to help rescue Dr. Li. His illegal imprisonment is deplorable, and represents a trampling of the basic human rights and freedoms we all cherish.”
According to recent United Nations Human Rights Commission annual reports, many Falun Gong practitioners have been killed as a result of force feeding while on hunger strikes in Chinese prisons and labor camps.
The Falun Dafa Information Center has confirmed 714 cases of Falun Gong practitioners dying from torture and abuse in Chinese police custody. 74 of those died from force feeding while on hunger strike. (news)
Ms. Foo said in a press conference this afternoon, “I wish to call on the American government for their help in bringing Charles home safely…I am terribly concerned.”