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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, March 12, 2006

9 in Hawai'i to join world hunger strike

By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Staff Writer

Nine people in Hawai'i are planning to take part in a worldwide "relay hunger strike" to protest human rights abuses by the Chinese Communist Party.

The hunger strike is being organized by the Epoch Times, a U.S.-based international, multilanguage newspaper that has published articles highly critical of the Chinese government.

The news organization believes Peter Yuan Li, its chief technical officer and a practitioner of Falun Gong, was held at gunpoint, beaten and robbed in front of his Atlanta home last month in retaliation for the stories it has run protesting Chinese policies.

John White, a Honolulu-based contributing writer and distributor for the free publication, said he and eight others would take turns going at least 24 hours without food from midnight today until 11:59 p.m. next Saturday.

All nine participants are supporters of Epoch Times, or are practitioners or supporters of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement which was outlawed in China in 1999, White said.

White said he is the only one of the nine who is not foreign-born Chinese. The relay will be the group's third. Two other week-long relay hunger strikes took place in February, he said.

Tony Leong, another participant, said he donates money and time to ensure the Epoch Times is distributed in Hawai'i. About 300 copies of the Chinese-language edition are passed out locally, as are about 50 English copies.

Leong said he believes it is important for the public to learn about what is happening in China. "People don't know what's going on with the Falun Gong in China," he said.

The group will gather for a press conference at 10:30 a.m. today at Kekaulike Mall to describe their action. The group chose the Chinatown location because it is where they distribute their newspapers each Sunday.

Reach Gordon Y.K. Pang at gpang@honoluluadvertiser.com.