In its October 22nd edition, The Albany Times Union published an article about Hongyuan "Annie" Li's successful effort to free her mother from a brainwashing centre in China, and her continuing attempts to persuade the Chinese authorities to grant her parents a passport so they can come to the United States.
Ms. Li's parents were denied a passport because they practise Falun Gong, according to Li, 36, a freelance financial writer whose husband, Chiewseng Koay, works for IBM's nanotechnology operation at the University at Albany.
The article states that Ms. Li's 67-year-old mother, Shizen Qin, a retired library science professor, had been confined since last March in a brainwashing centre, where she was deprived of sleep and harshly interrogated in an attempt by authorities to get her to renounce her belief in Falun Gong.
The article stated, "Li, of Albany, spoke to her mother briefly recently and she sounded fine, but she would not discuss details of her detainment and seemed very nervous. Li suspected her mother's phone was bugged.
"Qin took up the Falun Gong regimen in 1995 to combat diabetes and high blood pressure and it improved those conditions, she said, although her husband, a retired finance professor, is not a Falun Gong follower. Li is a practitioner and praises its health benefits.
"Li waged a campaign that included rallies at the state Capitol, visits to lawmakers in Washington and letters to the US Embassy in Beijing to expose China's human rights abuses and to win the release of her mother."
Ms. Li is now working to secure a Chinese passport for her parents, so that they can come to the United States.
"'I'll do everything I can to bring them here,' she said, adding that State Department and Congressional officials have promised assistance. 'I feel hopeful.'"
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