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

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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

What’s Behind China’s Denial of Forced Organ Harvesting?

August 27, 2016

(Minghui.org) The Chinese state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, including Falun Gong practitioners, became a focus of media attention during the 26th International Congress of The Transplantation Society in Hong Kong from August 19 to 23, something the Chinese government did not expect.

The New York Times published three reports on the issue. On August 19 the president of the Transplantation Society, Dr. Philip J. O’Connell, is quoted as saying, “The Chinese claim that the world accepts its organ transplant system is rebutted.”

Dr. O’Connell said to the Chinese speakers at the convention,“It is important that you understand that the global community is appalled by the practices that the Chinese have adhered to in the past,” according to The New York Times article.

On August 18, the evening before the convention began, two Chinese state-run associations held a special session on organ transplantation in China. The speakers at the special session included the former Chinese health minister, Huang Jiefu, and the director of the hospital affiliated with Zhejiang University, Zheng Shusen, two top figures in the Chinese organ transplant community.

Surprisingly, or maybe not, the only reporters allowed in the special Chinese session were from the Chinese state-run newspapers and TV stations and a few Hong Kong pro-communist media.

The next day, more than 20 Chinese media told the world the same story: This special Chinese organ transplant meeting showed that the Chinese organ transplant world had been truly accepted by The Transplantation Society, and former health minister Huang Jiefu vehemently denied the accusation leveled by the international community against Chinese forced organ harvesting.

In The New York Times article on August 19 Dr. O’Connell said, “So they may say that, but that’s not what the truth is.”

A New York Times article on August 17 covered the heated argument over Chinese forced organ harvesting before the convention. Several human right organizations and physicians wanted to boycott the convention, because some speakers were suspected of being involved in the forced organ harvesting, including Huang Jiefu and Zheng Shushen.

A group of physicians and ethicists published an article in the American Journal of Transplantation, criticizing “the decision to hold the conference in China as premature” according to The New York Times article “Debate Flares on China’s Use of Prisoners’ Organs as Experts Meet in Hong Kong” on the 17th.

More than 10 papers submitted to the convention were rejected because of the unclear sources of organs. The director of the hospital affiliated with Zhejiang University, Zheng Shusen, was invited to speak, but his speech was cancelled, and his paper is under investigation. Zheng missed the opening ceremony and returned home before the meeting started.

At the press conference on August 19, Dr. Jeremy Chapman, the former president of the Transplantation Society, said that Zheng’s paper may have violated the society’s rule that no organs from executed prisoners be used in research, although Zheng’s name was not mentioned.

If it turns out that the authors did violate the rule, Dr. Chapman said, “Then they will be named and shamed, and they will be excluded from our meetings forever — and from publication in transplantation journals.”


Falun Gong practitioners hold a protest outside the conference venue.

In June 2016, three independent investigators from Canada and the U.S.—David Kilgour, David Matas, and Ethan Gutmann—published a 680-page joint report on the state-sanctioned organ harvesting in China. The report estimated that 60,000 to 100,000 organ transplant surgeries have been conducted in China every year, the majority of which used organs from Falun Gong practitioners.

Zheng Shusen’s own experiences offer indirect evidence to support this accusation.

Zheng Shusen, 66, is one of the most experienced liver transplant surgeons in China. According to the state-run publication Guangmingwang and the China Association for Science and Technology, Zheng has carried out 1,850 liver transplants as of March 2016.

According to an article on the website of his institute, the Center for Liver Transplants, on January 28, 2005, Zheng once performed 5 liver transplants in one day and 11 total in that week alone.

Zheng told the media in 2006 that, from 1992 to 1998, there were only 78 liver transplants in the whole country, but this number has increased dramatically since 1999, which coincides with the beginning of the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999.

What stands out in Zheng’s experience is “liver transplants for acute hepatic failure” (LTAHF), which refers to patients who must get a liver transplant within 72 hours or die. Based on the data from Zheng’s research papers published in 2005, his institute carried out 46 LTAHF procedures from January 2000 to December 2004.

Since this kind of transplant cannot be pre-arranged, it is extremely rare in Western countries. However, among 4331 cases listed in the official Chinese Report on Liver Transplant Registration in 2016, 1150 were LTAHF procedures, 40% of the total!

The large number of LTAHF cases is considered strong evidence of the existence of organ harvesting from living people in China.

It is noteworthy that Zheng is the chair of the Provincial Anti-Cult Association in Zhejiang Province. One of the major functions of this state-run association in the last two decades has been to aid and abet the persecution of Falun Gong.

Zheng himself has been actively involved in slandering and vilifying Falun Gong. He was the chief editor of a book published in 2009 that defames Falun Gong.

Although Zheng never revealed the source of his organs in his papers, his role in the anti-Falun Gong campaign certainly suggests a convenient source of organs to supply the immense organ transplant industry in China.

Chinese version available

Category: Organ Harvesting

Complete Recovery from Bone Disease After Practicing Falun Dafa

August 26, 2016 | By a Falun Dafa practitioner in China

(Minghui.org) My husband was suffering from persistent back and knee pain. He went to the hospital in the fall of 2007 and was diagnosed with a protruding lumbar disc. His condition was treated with medication and physiotherapy until March 2009, but his condition worsened, and he lost the ability to walk.

We went to another hospital for a second opinion, where my husband was diagnosed with end-stage femoral head osteonecrosis. This means that there was little or no blood supply to the upper femur and the hip socket, causing the bone to die. Eventually, the bone would disintegrate.

Stunned, we consulted yet another hospital and received confirmation that that diagnosis was correct.

We were informed that he would need surgery to replace the damaged joints. Replacing both hip joints would have cost us forty-thousand yuan, and that did not include the cost of surgery and medications. We did not have the money.

We were shaken and could not think of a way to pay for the operation. Our two sons were saving up for their upcoming marriages, and none of our friends or relatives could offer us enough financial assistance. Moreover, this operation would not completely cure his condition!

I told my husband: “I have been practicing Falun Dafa for many years now and have not had any illnesses. You have supported my practice, even after the persecution began. Master Li will surely help you. There is no point in us crying about this: you just need to practice Falun Dafa too.”

Practitioners encouraged him, and my husband began to cultivate in Falun Dafa. Our compassionate Master immediately began purifying his body; his legs sweated throughout the first night.

My husband could not perform the fourth exercise in the beginning because he could not squat. However, within a month he was able to do all the exercises. He was walking with a cane three months later, he could walk without any help in eight months. In just over a year he was recovered completely and was able to return to work.

Our entire family is indebted to Master Li for curing my husband. No words can fully express our gratitude!

Chinese version available

Category: Health Benefits

Washington, DC: Trying Falun Gong at Yoga Expo a “Marvelous Experience”

August 24, 2016 | By a Falun Gong practitioner

(Minghui.org) Washington, DC’s annual Yoga Expo was held in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on August 20, 2016. Local Falun Gong practitioners offered a free introduction and teaching of the exercises. More than 20 people attended the workshop.

“This practice is very interesting,” said Isabelle, who works in a bank, “As I followed the hand gestures of the practitioner on stage, I felt very comfortable. There was energy moving in my body. It was warm and refreshing. I felt so calm.” She said she was glad she had a chance to experience Falun Gong.

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People learn the Falun Gong exercises in the Yoga Expo.

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A practitioner teaches a young person the hand gestures of the Falun Gong exercises.

Aaron, a lawyer in Virginia, bought tickets to the expo for himself and his wife after seeing it advertised in a local yoga center a few days ago. They had seen Falun Gong practitioners doing the exercises together last year in Philadelphia and were pleased to run into the practice again.

“I like this,” said Aaron. “As I was learning the exercises, I felt a special energy throughout my whole body. It was a marvelous feeling. My body was light and relaxed beyond words. I want to continue learning Falun Gong.”

Brant teaches in a public school in Montgomery County, Maryland. It was the first time he had ever run into Falun Gong. “Splendid!” he said. “We learned many hand gestures and movements. Doing the exercise with both hands over the head, we had to hold that position for five minutes. I felt very focused.”

He said he felt relaxed, refreshed, and confident. He said he would continue to learn Falun Gong and recommend it to his friends and family.

Chinese version available

Category: Other Community Events

Introducing Falun Gong in Croatian Town of Opatija

August 25, 2016

(Minghui.org) Practitioners from Croatia and Slovenia held an event on July 23, 2016 in the Croatian town of Opatija to inform the public about Falun Gong and the persecution. Located on the Adriatic coast, Opatija attracts many tourists during the summer months.

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Practitioners demonstrate the Falun Gong exercises in Opatija.

Passersby, including many tourists from around the world, expressed great interest in learning more about Falun Gong and the persecution in China. They were happy to take flyers and signed the petition calling for an end to the Chinese regime’s killing of practitioners in China for their organs.

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Passersby and tourists learn about Falun Gong and the persecution in China.

Amid the crowded streets of Opatija, people approached the booth, took flyers, observed practitioners while they demonstrated the exercises, and asked questions about the persecution. Many from Croatia and neighboring countries wanted to know how and where they could learn Falun Gong.

Category: Other Community Events

Passersby and tourists learn about Falun Gong and the persecution in China.

Amid the crowded streets of Opatija, people approached the booth, took flyers, observed practitioners while they demonstrated the exercises, and asked questions about the persecution. Many from Croatia and neighboring countries wanted to know how and where they could learn Falun Gong.

Category: Other Community Events