Philadelphia: Raising Awareness about Falun Gong During the Democratic National Convention

August 29, 2016 | By Falun Gong practitioners in Philadelphia

(Minghui.org) As the 2016 Democratic National Convention was held between July 25 and 28 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Falun Gong practitioners reached out to delegates and tourists telling them about the ongoing suppression in China.

“This is a tragedy and it must stop,” said Jake Mazurek, graduate student and delegate from Minneapolis, Minnesota, who was alarmed by the information on organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in China. He signed a petition condemning the abuse and said he would try finding other ways to help.

Beneath the Surface Is a Different China

Sarah Mahler, a delegate from Nevada, had heard about the persecution of Falun Gong in China several weeks ago in another city. “This [forced organ harvesting] is horrible and we must come up with a law to ban such organ transplant tourism in China.” She said she would tell more people about it.

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Nevada delegate Sarah Mahler (middle) talks with a Falun Gong practitioners at Philadelphia Chinatown on July 26, 2016.

Claudia Gorbman, a professor at the University of Washington, came to Philadelphia with her husband, a delegate to the convention. She signed the practitioners’ petition, and said she had been to China before. “It [China] is a special place, because it appears good in many aspects. But beneath the surface is a different story. There is no freedom of belief. It’s terrible.”

Kathleen Hong, a software analyst at Boston Children’s Hospital, is a delegate from Massachusetts. Her grandparents left China for Cambodia to escape the communist’ brutality and she was very thankful for that. “I am fortunate to live here and participate in the presidential election.” She signed a petition and said she hopes the Chinese people will soon be free and safe.

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Massachusetts delegate Kathleen Hong signs a petition calling for an end to forced organ harvesting.

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Don Johnston from Lima Charlie Media (second from left) talks with a Falun Gong practitioner (in pink) and said he would put the interview video online.

Jessica Russo from Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) said many delegates coming to the convention work for the U.S. government. “They may or may not have heard about organ harvesting from living Falun Gong in China. In any case, we hope they will pay attention to this atrocity and take concrete action to keep it from harming more innocent people.” She said there are many organ transplant centers in Pennsylvania, especially Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, which provide training to Chinese physicians. Certain measures should be taken to ensure these trainees will not participate in forced organ harvesting.

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Jessica Russo from Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) said the Western Society has the responsibility to prevent organ transplant training or transplant tourism connected to forced organ harvesting.

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Pedestrians sign petitions supporting Falun Gong in Philadelphia’s Chinatown.

Learning Exercises by the Liberty Bell

When Falun Gong practitioners came to the Independence National Historical Park near the Liberty Bell on July 31, the peaceful meditation and gentle movement attracted many tourists.

A man from Kuwait named Acrome joined practitioners on the lawn to learn the exercises. He was glad to hear that both the European Parliament and the U.S. House of Representatives have passed resolutions condemning forced organ harvesting in China. “I hope more countries will step forward and help stop the brutality,” he said.

Two brothers from Wisconsin, Dion at 15 and Max at 14, stopped to learn the exercises. They both said the exercises made them feel relaxed. They took materials and said they would continue learning the exercises.

Telling the Real Story Behind the Persecution

The weather forecast predicted rain on July 31 and the rain poured down right after the activities at the Independence National Historical Park concluded at noon. As practitioners began to set up for a rally in Philadelphia’s Chinatown afterwards, the rain stopped and brought a cool breeze to the hot summer day.

After signing a petition, Mr. Sampson from Arizona talked with practitioners for a long time. He said the vicious nature of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is what turned it against Falun Gong.

He was interested in learning the practice. “I am working in the flight industry and I travel a lot,” Mr. Sampson said. “I hope the practice of Falun Gong could relieve my pressure at work and improve my health.”

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Rally by Falun Gong practitioners at Philadelphia Chinatown on July 31, 2016.

Mr. Li, a practitioner who attended the event, said some Chinese had been brainwashed by the hate propaganda against Falun Gong and still refused to accept materials even after 17 years of severe suppression.

“Everyone longs for sincerity and kindness. But propaganda from the communist misled them, making them unwilling to listen to facts about Falun Gong.” he said.

Franklin, a Chinese immigrant, has lived in Philadelphia for several decades. He said activities held in Chinatown like this are very helpful, because that is how residents and tourists learn the real story in China.

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Chinese immigrant Franklin signs a petition.

“The persecution of Falun Gong is not only an issue of freedom of belief,” he continued. “From it, people are able to understand what communist party really is.” He said this is important for people in both China and other countries.

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Two passersby talk with a practitioner about the persecution of Falun Gong.

Chinese version available

Category: Other Community Events

Ukraine: International Art Exhibition Ignites Hope in Kiev

August 22, 2016

(Minghui.org) The recent showing of the Art of Zhen, Shan, Ren (Truth, Compassion, Tolerance) International Exhibition in Kiev drew a large group of visitors over the past several weeks this summer.

Through the artworks, people were introduced to Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa), a traditional cultivation practice from China, and learned about the brutal persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party. After visiting the gallery, many signed the petition against the Chinese regime’s forced organ harvesting of imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners.

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A volunteer introduces the story behind each work of art.

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The Art of Zhen, Shan, Ren (Truth, Compassion, Tolerance) International Exhibition in Kiev.

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Shevchenko National Prize winner and honored artist Larisa Kadochnikova

Shevchenko National Prize winner and an honored artist Larisa Kadochnikova accepted an interview after visited the art exhibition.

This was her second visit to the Art of Zhen, Shan, Ren international exhibition.

“I saw light and hope in the artworks when I visited it a few years back,” said Ms. Kadochnikova. “Ideas like Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance will connect to you immediately and force you to re-think your understanding.

“Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is re-shaping kindness and freedom in the world.”

Drawing from the experiences of Ukrainians under the Soviet Union’s communist regime, she concluded that the communists of any regime have never allowed people to freely see the world and to have their own beliefs.

“When you realize the truth, you find the strength to be kind and tolerant. So you can be a truly compassionate person,” she concluded, stating that this is what stands out most for her in this exhibition.

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Movie actress Lilia Yatsenyuk

Lilia Yatsenyuk, a well-known movie actress, commented that the art exhibition touched the kindness that exists in every person.

“Some arts display the meaning directly. Others want you to think,” she said. “I believe in the kindness in people, and I believe that mankind will have a bright future. Every artwork [in the exhibition] touches some part of my heart.”

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Carina, a student at Kiev College of Construction, Architecture and Design

Carina, a student at Kiev College of Construction, Architecture and Design, commented that the exhibition showed her the strength of people’s mind power.

“The figures in the paintings seem to tell us not to drift along with the deteriorating trend and not to abandon the traditional lifestyle. We need faith and we need to protect these [Falun Dafa practitioners],” said Carina.

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Natya

Natya’s first encounter with the international art exhibition was in Tokyo, four years ago. The exhibition left a strong impression on her then.

Natya, who is interested in Eastern culture and holds a black belt in karate, said, “I saw a lot of suffering and pain in the artworks. You could feel the sadness and desperation. But you also see the brightness in them. They bring hope to people.”

Chinese version available

Category: Art & Photo Exhibits

There Is Nothing Wrong with Practicing Falun Gong

August 28, 2016 | By the husband of a Falun Gong practitioner in China

(Minghui.org) Because my wife refuses to renounce Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa), she was detained, suspended from work with no pay, and deprived of her personal freedom. Our family also suffered.

In April of 2004, the security section of our workplace notified her that she had been suspended from work and she must go to the Shuangqueqiao Police Station. They tried to force her to denounce Falun Gong. She refused.

At the time, I thought she was too stubborn. The Communist Party Secretary in our bureau asked me to persuade her to give up Falun Gong. I tried but didn’t have any luck. I couldn’t understand why she insisted on practicing Falun Gong, and I even got quite angry with her. However, gradually I understood that my wife didn’t do anything wrong in practicing Falun Gong.

Another time, when my wife was at work, she was summoned by someone from the security section. As soon as she came out of the office, she was unlawfully arrested by police and detained for over 20 days.

I told the head of our bureau that my wife was taken out of work even though she didn’t do anything wrong. I demanded that the bureau chief come with me to the police station to get her released. He assigned someone from the security section to come with me.

When we arrived, I asked the officers why they arrested and detained my wife, since she did not break the law. Seeing that I was very firm, they released her. Nevertheless, she was later arrested multiple times.

In 2005, we returned to my hometown to join a housewarming celebration for my older brother. My wife was in town distributing handouts about Falun Gong and the persecution, for which she was reported to the police. They arrested her and sent her to Wuchang Female Drug Addiction Treatment Center for detention. Later, she was sent to Shayang Forced Labor Camp for a year and a half.

I was really angry with the endless unlawful arrests and detention of my wife. First, the police abused their power by arresting and sentencing innocent people at will. Secondly, they treated the law as child’s play, and nothing they did was by the rule of law.

I used to believe everything the Communist Party said. Later, from witnessing the numerous ways in which my wife had benefited from practicing Falun Gong, I knew that the persecution is wrong. Falun Gong only teaches people to be good and does not break the law whatsoever.

My wife had all kinds of illnesses before she started practicing Falun Gong, including adnexitis, gastritis, and dizziness. She had to go to the hospital often and spent thousands of yuan a year in medical fees.

After she started practicing Falun Gong, she never had to go to the hospital again. Even my own severe stomach problems disappeared. I’m in very good health now.

I could not feel more grateful to Falun Gong when an incident happened in April of this year. My grandson accidentally fell from the fourth floor. It’s incredible that he suffered only a fractured pelvis.

I can never figure out how he was tangled up in a cable line closely affixed to our building when he fell from such a height. I have no doubt that my little guy was blessed because of my wife’s practice of Falun Gong.

Falun Gong is so good. There is nothing wrong with practicing Falun Gong. I want to call on all Chinese people to break from the Communist Party and stand up for innocent people’s right to freedom of belief.

Chinese version available

Category: Opinion & Perspective