What's New - Li Yao-Hua

One Postcard, Save One Life

posted Mar 8, 2010, 5:59 PM by Rescue Moms

My mother, Yao-Hua Li, and my only sister, Yi-Bo Zhang, are currently held in a detention center in Shanghai, China.
 
On June 4, 2009, in Shanghai, my mother and youngest sister were arrested in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, other than that they are Falun Gong practitioners.  The local Chinese police broke in and searched their house without a warrant, and their family home was ransacked and their personal possessions were seized.  Since that day, my mom and sister have been held at Xuhui-District Detention Center in Shanghai. It’s been over 9 months and no family visits have been allowed. Based on information we know, many Falun Gong practitioners were tortured and have suffered severe mistreatment when they were jailed. That makes us quite worried about my family members’ safety.
 
Since 1999, similar break-ins and harassment has happened many times. My mother is a faithful, caring housewife who’s been married to my father for 40 years and has a harmonious relationship with the neighbors. My youngest sister is a finance officer and has worked for Siemens Shanghai for 10 years. They are by no means harmful people and do not deserve to go to jail.
 
I sincerely ask for your help on the release of my beloved ones. By sending a postcard to them can help to put some pressure on the local Chinese Government and may eventually help to free them.
 
Please send the postcard to the following address:
 
李耀华,张轶博 女士 收
上海市徐汇看守所
上海市徐汇区龙吴路398弄15号, 邮编︰200232
Ms. Li Yao-Hua and Ms. Zhang Yi-Bo
Shanghai Xuhui District Detention Center
No.15 Lane 398, Longwu Rd.
Shanghai City, 200232
China
 

My mother and sister, prisoners of China's Communist Party

posted Oct 16, 2009, 4:28 PM by Rescue Moms

The U.S. must put pressure on Beijing to end its brutal persecution of Falun Gong adherents.
 
By Yi-Yuan Chang
October 13, 2009 | 4:45 p.m.
 
China's leaders meant for the celebrations on Oct. 1 to remind the world of their country's growing power and importance. But the 60th anniversary of the communist revolution, which Nina Hachigian wrote about in her Sept. 30 Times Op-Ed article, should also remind us of something else: The Chinese Communist Party is still very much an authoritarian regime whose nature remains quite the same as when Mao Tse-tung brutalized the nation.

I should know. About four months ago, my mother, Yao-Hua Li, and sister, Yi-Bo Zhang, were abducted by Chinese police officers simply because of their spiritual beliefs.

Just as millions of Chinese citizens did in the 1990s, my family embraced the Buddhist spiritual discipline of Falun Gong. The practice combines meditation and a moral philosophy based on the principles of truth, compassion and tolerance. It enabled my mother to find relief from severe back pains and gave us all a more positive outlook on life.

The Chinese Communist Party, however, viewed the growing spiritual movement as a threat and banned the Falun Gong faith in 1999. Since then, international observers have reported that more than 100,000 Falun Gong adherents have been sent to forced-labor camps, and thousands have been tortured (many to death) because they refused to recant their beliefs.

Though I had feared that my family members in China could be victimized under this persecution, I had assumed they were safe. After all, my mother has Hong Kong residency, and my sister was a successful financial manager with a well-known international corporation. I thought this would give them some level of protection.

I was wrong.

On June 4, exactly 20 years to the day after the massacre at Tiananmen Square, my mother and sister were taken from their home in Shanghai and sent to jail for no other reason than the fact that they practice the Falun Gong faith. They still haven't been charged with a crime or brought to trial (even if they do get a trial, it would be a farce). I searched high and low in Shanghai, a city of more than 20 million people, and I could not find one lawyer with the courage to take their case.

Their fate will be determined by the local 610 Office, a Gestapo-like organization charged with persecuting Falun Gong adherents.

My family is not alone in our suffering. According to the U.S. State Department's 2008 country report on human rights, Falun Gong adherents are estimated to make up as much as half of China's labor camp population. They also account for two-thirds of the torture cases in China, according to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture.

All around the world, people and governments look to the United States for leadership on human rights. This is precisely why lawmakers and business leaders need to keep the countless number of people such as my mother and sister in mind when engaging with China's leaders.

The values of human rights and freedom are not just American values; they are universal. A relationship can only be healthy and long-lasting when it is built on shared values, not just shared interests, which are temporary and ever-changing.

This is why I am very thankful that 77 members of Congress, including California Reps. Maxine Waters, Ed Royce, Darrell Issa, Duncan D. Hunter, Dana Rohrabacher and Adam Schiff, have co-sponsored HR 605, which recognizes the ongoing persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual movement and calls for an immediate end to the campaign to persecute, intimidate, imprison and torture its practitioners.

The resolution is being reviewed by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, which is chaired by Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Valley Village). There are millions of people suffering persecution in China, not just my family and not just Falun Gong adherents. Every single one of them would join me in my hope for Congress to pass this resolution.

After his trip to China in August, Berman described Chinese officials as being "very open" to expanding human rights in their country. For the sake of my family and so many others, I hope he supports HR 605 and takes advantage of the openness to which he attests. My mother and sister are waiting.
 

California Assemblyman Chuck Devore Demands Freedom For Chinese Prisoners Of Conscience

posted Oct 16, 2009, 4:26 PM by Rescue Moms   [ updated Oct 16, 2009, 4:27 PM ]

7/7/2009 | Press Release from California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore Office
 
Leisa Brug-Kline (949) 863-7070 SACRAMENTO - California State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) today issued letters to officials of the Peoples Republic of China, from Ambassador to the United States Zhou Wenzhong to several local police officials, demanding the release of four unjustly imprisoned women with close ties to California. The imprisoned persons are adherents of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that the Chinese Communist Party once supported, but now brutally suppresses.
 
The imprisoned persons on whose behalf Assemblyman DeVore intervened are:
- Ms. Yao-Hua Li, and Ms. Yi-Bo Zhang, both of whom are reportedly in detention at the Xuhui District Detention Center in Shanghai. These women are the mother and sister, respectively, of Mr. Yi-Yuan Chang, who serves as the Assistant Director of the Center for Esthetic Dentistry at the University of California at Los Angeles.
 
- Mrs. Jinhua Ma, reportedly in detention at the Anhui Women's Forced Labor Camp since September 2008. She is the mother of MaQiong Wang, a longtime Californian.
 
- Ms. Chunyan Wang, reportedly in detention at the Laioning Province Women's Prison. She is the mother of Ping Yu, a longtime Californian.
"Though the constitution of the People's Republic of China formally guarantees freedom of religion, the fact is that Communist authorities use force to oppress particular faiths, including Falun Gong, various Christian sects, Buddhists, and Muslims," said DeVore, "I am sending letters demanding the release of these prisoners for two reasons: because their Californian loved ones deserve no less from a Californian public servant, and because the cause of liberty is the cause of every American."
 
It is not uncommon for people imprisoned for their faith in China to be tortured, then die in custody.
 
Since 1999, the U.S. Secretary of State has assigned the "Country of Particular Concern" (CPC) designation to China under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), for particularly severe violations of religious freedom.
 
7/7/2009 | Press Release: http://arc.asm.ca.gov/member/70/?p=article&sid=151&id=220884

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