Torture Survivor Tells His Story Interview of Dr. Charles
Lee by Roger Canfield
INTERVIEW, THE NEW AMERICAN • AUGUST 21, 2006.
Roger Canfield, Ph.D., the author of China’s Trojan Horses,
is an associate editor for Military Magazine.
Dr. Charles Lee of San Francisco, California, was released
on January 21, 2006 from a three-year ordeal in a Communist Chinese prison. Dr. Lee is an American
citizen and has been since 2002. He grew up three hours north of Shanghai,
China. After attending medical school in China, he applied for a passport to the U.S.A. to get a master’s degree in
physiology. When he traveled back to China to aid Chinese citizens to get
uncensored news, he was imprisoned and physically and mentally tortured.
THE NEW AMERICAN: What controls did the Chinese Communist
Party (CCP) exercise on you as a student in the U.S.A.?
Dr. Charles Lee: Not much until I became a Falun Gong
practitioner in 1997. Then the Chinese Communist Party-controlled state police
frequently visited my brother and father in China to harass and intimidate them.
In the United States, the CCP watched me. I believe they smashed my car and
stole my cellphone. They are always trying to silence you.
TNA: What is Falun Gong? Is it a religion? A cult? Why do
you call yourselves practitioners instead of members?
Lee: The Falun Gong cultivates good health through exercise
and meditation. It is entirely peaceful, based on the principles of truth,
compassion, and tolerance. Among Falun Gong practitioners you will find no violence, no lies, no cheating. We worship no
leader. We have no temple, no liturgy, no proselytizing, no collection plate,
no tithing. It is entirely voluntary.
TNA: So, why is the CCP afraid of the Falun Gong?
Lee: “Truthfulness Compassion and Forbearance” reflect badly
upon the CCP. Falun Gong’s existence as a group of millions of people inside
China is like a mirror reflecting upon the CCP’s brutality and ugliness.In only a few years, Falun Gong practitioners, perhaps 100
million, far outnumber CCP members. Falun Gong’s existence, however passive,
threatens the CCP’s absolute control over the thoughts of people.
TNA: Why did you go back to China?
Lee: The persecution of Falun Gong was getting worse. So in
2002, I went back to China, preparing the way to reveal the truth about the
persecution on Falun Gong. Since the CCP controls all media, I tested equipment designed to tap into the CCP controlled TV system.
TNA: How did that work out?
Lee: One night I got caught and was taken to a police
station because I did not have a Chinese identification. They did not know who I was. While
they were not looking closely, I climbed over a wall, escaped, and left China the same
Recounting the horror: Just a week after his release from a
Chinese prison where he was tortured regularly for nearly three years on what
would amount to vandalism charges in the United States, U.S. citizen Dr.
Charles Lee speaks at a news conference. AP
TNA: You went back again in 2003?
Lee: I was arrested getting off the airplane at the Baiyun airport
in Guangzhou (Canton), on January 22, 2003 and taken 1,000 miles away to the
Yangzhou Detention Center in Jiangsu Province.
TNA: Could you tell us about the crime you were accused of?
Lee: I committed no crime. I was accused of intending to
destroy broadcast equipment. To be punished as I was, even Chinese law requires
intent to endanger lives or property. Tapping into a TV broadcast hurts no
equipment, no person, and no property.
TNA: What was your trial like?
Lee: My one-day trial was in Yangzhou Intermediate People’s
Court in Jiangsu Province. As a Falun Gong practitioner, any lawyer daring to stand up for me faced
harassment by authorities. I found a lawyer who said he would plead guilty and beg for
lenience. So I defended myself. Only one day before the trial, the authorities
appointed an attorney. He showed up thirty minutes before the trial. I let him
have a try. It turned out to be only a CCP trap to show the world I had a
lawyer and the trial was legitimate. The court disregarded everything my lawyer
said and I was not allowed either to present evidence or to defend myself.
TNA: What was your sentence?
Lee: I was unlawfully sentenced to three years and locked in
Nanjing Prison, 170 miles west of Shanghai.
TNA: You have said that you were tortured. What did they do
Lee: In China, they use physical torture and threat of death
to get people to give in. Sometimes the torture is worse than death. It is
hell. Death is better. They tortured me with handcuffs, which cut into my flesh
to the bone; it was extremely painful. They pulled my arms upward, from the
back. If I moved at all, the pain would get worse. They did not allow me to
sleep for 92 consecutive hours. They forced me to stand up for 16 days, from
morning to evening in front of prisoners. Four to nine prisoners insulted and
kicked me for not standing up straight. And I had to sit and think about my
“wrongdoings” in a fixed position. The longest time was 48 days straight, with
my heart problem surfacing as a result. I sat fixed from morning into night
broken only by breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was forced to watch their
brainwashing simulcast on CCTV (China CentralTelevision). I could not read or
talk to anybody. My bottom developed a hard callus — it was extremely painful
and so was my back. Exhausted, after two weeks my brain worked very slowly.
TNA: In what other ways were you made to suffer?
Lee: They forced me to do slave labor at the end of 2003, to
make shoes, Christmas lights, and other things for U.S.A. export. The shoes
used an industrial glue containing benzene. It’s very toxic and irritating. I
felt short of breath and had a headache.
TNA: What was the worst?
Lee: My mother suffered a lot because of CCP persecution. I
never had time to do anything for her. She died less than one hour before I got to her. Anything that
happens to me, I can suffer and recover. But my mother died, and I could do
nothing at all.
TNA: The Epoch Times has reported that the communists are
performing organ removal on live Falun Gong prisoners. What do you think?
Lee: I believe it is happening. China has the world’s
largest supplies of body organs. The CCP has harvested the organs of executed
prisoners for many years. I witnessed it as a young doctor. Today you can get a
kidney in a matter of days versus a three-year wait in the U.S.A. Practitioners….Falun Gong have been brainwashed, put into mental hospitals,
imprisoned, and tortured to death. Why not live organ harvesting?
“Human rights are in the interest of the American people. If
we fail to realize the viciousness of communism, our children will suffer in
the future.” — Dr. Charles Lee
Stopping persecution: Members of Falun Gong, an exercise and
meditation group in China that advocates uttermost honesty, are tortured and killed by
Chinese authorities. American Dr. Lee was arrested and imprisoned in China for trying to aid the
Falun Gong. AP
INTERVIEW THE NEW AMERICAN • AUGUST 21, 2006 31
TNA: Would the large numbers of organs available reflect the
beliefs of the Chinese people in regard to organtransplants?
Lee: Ninety-nine percent of organ removals are forced, not
voluntary. Deeply held Chinese traditions favor an intact body after death. The
only exception is family members lovingly donating organs to their own family members.
TNA: How has the CCP maintained control all these years?
Lee: The CCP maintains power through brainwashing,
mind-control techniques they invented years ago. These have been used on all
the people of China including Party members. The Party wants to know what’s in
your mind and insists you report your thoughts. Your thoughts belong to the
TNA: How effective are these methods?
Lee: These techniques cleanse independent thoughts. You lose
control over your own mind, your self-esteem. You become a slave, a minion
seeking to satisfy the master. This vicious thought control has destroyed the
soul of the Chinese people.
TNA: In speaking about Chinese propaganda, you have equated
it to that done by the Nazis. How do these methods compare to Nazi techniques?
Lee: Forced indoctrination — thought control — is worse than
Nazi propaganda. It is a technique of suggestology, the subconscious influence
of repeated lies. In prison you cannot say no, and the CCP has turned China into
a big prison. The CCP says it is the master over you, and it forces you to
repeat it. One knows it is a lie. But when everybody repeats it, one comes to believe
that the majority of people truly think the same way. A lie becomes the truth
to many people. This is the essence of the CCP’s power.
TNA: How damaging is mind control?
Lee: For years there has been no independent thinking in
China. No science, no creativity, no art, no literature, no Nobel laureates.
Chinese scientists can only steal the technology of others. In contrast, the
Soviet Communists nurtured education and intellectuals and produced — and stole
— advanced technology, a space program, nuclear capabilities, silent submarines,
and jet fighters. The communists in China relied on farmers and peasants as
Party cadre who have hated, persecuted, and murdered intellectuals for 60
TNA: Many Americans believe a strong Chinese economy and
trade will bring democracy to China; what do you think?
Lee: This is wishful thinking. The Chinese economy is a kind
of storefront “window economy” limited to showcase coastal areas. It is only
superficially a free market. The CCP controls the connections, corruption, black
markets, lands, real estate, mines — all the rules and resources. Businessmen tricked
into “easy money” investments get hooked on poisoned bait. They cannot leave
and may go to jail. Long ago, the CCP confiscated private lands and factories “for
the good of people.” And now CCP officials embezzle state money and state-owned
properties, “reforming and opening up to the outside world.” The CCP has never
changed — it only changes its face to deceive people.
TNA: What message would you like to give to the American
Lee: Human rights are in the interest of the American
people. If we fail to realize the viciousness of communism, our children will
suffer in the future. Please, have a heart. Especially stop those helping the CCP
to suppress and torture the Chinese people by investing in and making a quick buck
in the illusive Chinese “big market.”
TNA: Is there anything really important we missed?
Lee: If the U.S. has a war with the CCP, I believe the CCP
will win. Americans make a big fuss over 2,000 lives lost inIraq. For the
communists, losing 200 million is okay. The CCP could only be defeated with
atomic bombs. There would be an outcry against this from the people in a
democracy like the U.S.A., but the communists do not care. During China’s civil
war, the CCP military surrounded the targeted cities, and hundreds of thousands
of people could not get out and starved to death. People are worth less than
ants. During the three-year famine, farmers were not allowed to beg, and the
military blocked villagers from leaving. Lives were nothing. Forty million died
by official count — 60 million by a careful count of every county. The only
principle that guides the CCP is that there is no principle at all; it is just like
a cancer. Feed it and it will consume us all. ■
Life-saving effort: Dr. Lee, an American citizen imprisoned
and tortured in China, credits his fiancée Yeong-Ching Foo and friends for
gaining enough attention about his plight across our nation, including
gathering over 100,000 signatures urging his release, so that he didn’t “disappear”
while in prison. AP