China allows prison visits to U.S. citizen

May 25, 2004 at 7:52 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department announced Tuesday China has allowed consular visits to a U.S. citizen imprisoned there since last January.

Charles Lee, a U.S. citizen of Chinese origin, is serving a three-year sentence om Nanjing prison for alleged sabotage of broadcast facilities.

An officer from the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai last visited Lee May 18. The officer again spoke with Lee by telephone May 24, the State Department said.

"This is the 20th face-to-face visit with Mr. Lee, the 34th time a consular officer has spoken to him since his arrest in January 2003," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told a briefing in Washington.

Chinese authorities also allowed Lee to visit with his parents and brother outside the prison April 30.

Lee began a hunger strike last Tuesday to protest working conditions in the prison's shoe factory, but he resumed eating one day later. His relatives in the United States say recently he was deprived of sleep for an extended period.

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