- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 8, 2001

American Falun Gong practitioners are calling on the Bush administration to help secure the release of a 38-year-old U.S. member who has been held captive in Beijing since May 2000.
Chunyan Teng, a medical doctor base in New York, was sentenced to a three-year term for passing evidence of psychiatric abuses of Falun Gong members to foreign journalists.
Erping Zhang, president of Falun Gong International Committee For Human Rights is leading efforts to prod the Bush administration to help free Dr. Teng.
However, the Chinese Embassy in Washington has denied that Dr. Teng was ever arrested.
According to Mr. Zhang, she was picked up by Chinese police at the Beijing International Airport and is believed to be the only American Falun Gong member who is currently held in China.
Mr. Zhang, who also runs a consultant business in New York, hopes for Dr. Teng's release before President Bush's expected visit to China next month.
"We call for the U.S. government to take action to secure Dr. Teng's release and freedom," Mr. Zhang said at yesterday's press conference at the National Press Building in Washington.
"The detention of Dr. Chunyan Teng should have never happened. We also call on the American people to join in this cause, to help us rescue a fellow American in need. We continue to call on China's authorities to release Dr. Teng," Mr. Zhang said.
The Falun Gong spokesman said Dr. Teng, disturbed after hearing about the persecution against Falun Gong members since 1999, went to China early last year and videotaped human rights violations in mental hospitals.
"Compelled by her conscience, she courageously decided to travel to China to do something about the injustice," Mr. Zhang said.
Later, Dr. Teng passed some evidence of psychiatric abuses to Western journalists, including an Agence France-Presse reporter. She then left China for a short period and returned to China in May 2000, when she was immediately arrested by Chinese police at the Beijing International Airport.
The Falun Gong spokesman said Dr. Teng was accused of "prying into and illegally providing state information to foreigners" and sentenced to three years in prison after a secret trial in December 2000.
Over tens of thousands of Falun Gong members have been arrested, beaten, tortured and forced into slave labor, human rights groups say.
More than 1,000 practitioners are hospitalized and abused in psychiatric institutions, said Mr. Zhang.
Claiming that 266 believers have been killed in their encounters with Chinese authorities, the Falun Gong spokesman said. He hopes that Dr. Teng would not become the 267th victim.
"She is now subjected to the very same abuses that she sought to document and to end," Mr. Zhang said.
Although Chinese authorities hospitalize practictioners, they refer to such treatment as "re-education," Mr. Zhang said.
Another Falun Gong spokesperson, Gail Rachlin, said Dr. Teng used to teach Falun Gong twice a week to her students.
"We're frightened in terms of torture that she's been put through right now."
Thousands of Chinese and American Falun Gong members also demonstrated at the U.S. Capitol in July to mark the second anniversary of China's ban of the movement and ask the government for help, Mr. Zhang said.
He said that Falun Gong has no political agenda and also prohibits any form of killing people. The reference apparently was to a highly publicized suicide in Beijing that turned some sympathies against the sect. Falun Gong vigorously denied it condones such actions.


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