United States: Congressman Robert Andrews shows support for rescuing Charles Li from China

Epoch Times report from New Jersey: On February 8, 2003, U.S. Congressman Robert Andrews clearly indicated that American citizens who travel abroad are protected by the laws of the United States. The Chinese government's arrest of US citizen Mr. Charles Li has violated the international law.

Congressman Robert Andrews said, "The Chinese government has alleged that Mr. Li has broken the law, but they haven't given him a hearing of the charges against him. They haven't given him a right to counsel, and they haven't let the world 'in' on the charges that have been made against him. I think that there is a legitimate question as to whether the Chinese government has violated the law by violating the human rights of Mr. Li. By calling the attention of our State Department to it, we hope that we will be able to win a fair hearing and a fair trial for Mr. Li and eventually, his liberation." He said, "I think that's not a violation of the law by Mr. Li, I think that's a violation of the international law by the Chinese government. I think that it's a basic and fundamental human right for someone to be able to practise his or her religion without coercion, as he or she sees fit. And I think that's the situation with Mr. Li." He further said, "We have also written more recently to the Chinese government itself, the embassy here in the United States, and asked for a direct accounting of this matter from the Embassy. We intend to stay on top of this issue, to be persistent, and to get an answer."

Upon being asked whether American citizens who go to China or to other countries are protected by the United States, Congressman Robert Andrews said, "Well, they certainly should be. In the case of Mr. Li, it is going to be a test as to whether the answer to that question in reality is 'yes' or 'no.' In theory, every American citizen who travels abroad is protected by our laws, and the legitimacy of our government. I don't think that Mr. Li has received that protection. And I think it's important that our State Department extend that protection to him, not just for his sake, but for the sake of all Americans travelling abroad, in all places."

Congressman Robert Andrews wrote a letter to Secretary of State Collin Powell on February 5. He mentioned in his letter, "Clearly, we cannot allow the People's Republic of China to mistreat a citizen of our nation." "At this crucial juncture, it is absolutely essential that we send a clear statement to the Chinese government that the United States will not accept their blatant disregard for the rights of Falun Gong practitioners."

Congressman Robert Andrews said, "I predict to you that if the Chinese government understands that those are the ground rules in respect to Mr. Li's case, they will release Mr. Li, because the charges are flimsy, the grounds are slim, and the Chinese government does not want to suffer the embarrassment of having the world see it's real agenda, in this case, which I believe to be the persecution of people who have beliefs that are different than what the government does."

Charles Li, a United States citizen who lives in California, was arrested at Guangzhou Airport on January 22, 2003. Mr. Li has been charged with sabotaging TV and/or radio equipment. He emphatically denies these charges and believes he has been arrested because of his practise of Falun Gong.

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