American Falun Gong arrested in China

Falun Gong followers say hundreds of practitioners have died in Chinese custody

CNN/January 30, 2003
By Lisa Rose Weaver

Beijing, China -- China's Foreign Ministry has confirmed that police have charged a Chinese American with involvement in hijacking Chinese television and radio broadcasts using messages from the banned Falun Gong sect.

Chuck Li from Menlo Park, California was taken into police custody in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou January 22, according to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

He was later transferred to Yangzhou, in Jiangsu Province, where the alleged broadcast sabotage took place.

Commenting on the arrest Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said the Falun Gong was "an evil cult, jeopardizing social stability and damaging public order."

"Anybody who takes these actions are violating Chinese law," she said, giving no further details on the arrest.

Legal Aid

Li has been visited by U.S. consular officials who provided Li with a list of Chinese lawyers and information about the Chinese legal system.

No date for a trial has been set.

A U.S. embassy spokesman declined to "characterize the religious beliefs" of the detained man, although Falun Gong followers in the United States identified Li in a statement.

Falun Gong has in recent months changed tactics from openly demonstrating in Tiananmen Square to carrying out a series of broadcast hijackings in China.

China, which calls the Falun Gong an "evil cult," banned it in 1999 and has largely succeeded in driving it further underground.

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