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

August 29, 2016 | By Falun Gong practitioners in Philadelphia

( 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.”


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.

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.

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

Chinese version available

Category: Other Community Events