- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 30, 2002

China has released an American student arrested for campaigning for Falun Gong but his family says his brother may still be in custody on similar charges.
Two U.S. lawmakers traveling to China plan to call for his release.
Daniel Pomerleau, 22, was arrested by Chinese secret police on Monday hours after he began to distribute pamphlets on Falun Gong in Beijing.
"They slapped, kicked and punched me during interrogations," said Mr. Pomerleau, a student at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. "They wanted to know if I knew anyone in China."
Mr. Pomerleau, who was deported Wednesday after 48 hours in detention, said the Chinese police did not allow him to contact the U.S. Embassy.
Mr. Pomerleau said he was released after the authorities seized $200 worth of his personal belongings and made him buy another plane ticket.
But Mr. Pomerleau said his brother, Jason, might not be so lucky and worried that the Chinese government might detain him for longer time.
Jason Pomerleau, 25, of Vassalboro, Maine, went to China with his Canadian girlfriend, Christine Loftus, 22, to protest China's ban on Falun Gong. The couple, who traveled to Beijing via Hong Kong, were arrested on Thursday. The family has not heard from them since then, Daniel Pomerleau said yesterday.
He said his family learned of his brother's detention through a photograph posted on a Chinese Internet site.
The Chinese "might not deport him the way they deported me," he said.
But a State Department spokesman said yesterday that Jason Pomerleau's arrest has yet to be confirmed. "At this point I am not able to confirm or deny," he said. "That is all I can say."
Jason Pomerleau graduated from Tufts University in 1999 and Miss Loftus is a student at Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario.
Meanwhile, a delegation of approximately of 20 senators and congressmen left for Beijing via Hong Kong yesterday. The team is expected to meet with Chinese officials and participate in a forum organized by the think tank Aspen Institute.
Two members of the team from Maine Republican Sen. Olympia J. Snowe and Democratic Rep. Tom Allen are expected to take up the case of Mr. Pomerleau with the Chinese leaders.
Mrs. Snowe is aware of the issue and will raise it at the forum, her spokesman, Dave Lackey, said.
"The State Department is trying to locate and arrange his release," Mr. Lackey said. "The situation moved quickly once Daniel was located, and we hope the same [will happen] with his brother."
Allen spokesman Mark Sullivan also said the congressman will raise the issue and take necessary measures for the prompt release of Mr. Pomerleau.
China outlawed Falun Gong in 1999, labeling it an "evil cult" that forces its followers to commit suicide. However, the group claims it has promoted good health and moral living through meditation and exercises according to Buddhism and the teachings of the group's founder, Li Hongzhi.


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