Release Date Approaches For Imprisoned Falun Gong Practitioner Charles Lee

January 25, 2006

Imprisoned Falun Gong practitioner Charles Lee's three-year sentence will expire on January 21, 2006. The trial court's original judgment in his case provides that Lee is to be expelled from China upon completion of his sentence, according to a March 24, 2003, Xinhua report reprinted on the Ministry of Justice Web site.

Chinese authorities detained U.S. citizen Charles Lee, a Falun Gong (FLG) practitioner, in Guangzhou municipality, Guangdong province, on January 22, 2003, formally arrested him on January 29, and indicted him on March 5, according to reports from Xinhua, Reporters Without Borders, and the Friends of Falun Gong. Lee admitted in court that, as alleged by the procuratorate, he intended to interfere with cable television transmissions in Yangzhou city, Jiangsu province, in October 2002; his goal was to broadcast messages on Chinese government persecution of FLG practitioners. On March 21, 2003, the Intermediate People's Court of Yangzhou sentenced Lee to three years in prison for "sabotaging broadcast and television facilities," a crime under Article 124 of the Criminal Law. Lee denied any intent to "sabotage" equipment. Credible reports suggest that prison authorities have subjected Lee to both mental and physical abuse because of his Falun Gong beliefs. U.S. consular officers have met with Lee several times during his imprisonment, pursuant to the provisions of a bilateral consular convention.