On May 11, 2013, Falun Gong practitioners held activities at the Plaza de Callao in the centre of Madrid, Spain, to celebrate the 14th annual World Falun Dafa Day and the 21st anniversary of Falun Dafa's spread throughout the world.
The World Falun Dafa Day falls on May 13 each year, coinciding with the birthday of Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa.
Practitioners gathered in front of the banners that read “Wishing Benevolent and Revered Master a Happy Birthday” and “World Falun Dafa Day” for a group photo to wish Master Li a happy birthday. They also took this opportunity to express their gratitude to Master Li.
|Falun Gong practitioners in Spain respectfully wish Master Li a happy birthday|
|Practitioners demonstrate the Falun Gong exercises to the public|
Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, was first introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi on May 13, 1992, in China. It is currently practiced in over 100 countries around the world by people of all nationalities and races.
In July 1999, the Chinese regime launched a brutal campaign to suppress Falun Gong, when the number of practitioners exceeded the number of Communist Party members. The gruesome persecution has continued to this day.
Many people stopped by the practitioners' table at Plaza de Callao to voice their support and sign a petition to demand the end of the persecution in China.
|Spanish people eagerly sign the petition calling for the end of the persecution of Falun Gong in China|
The celebration began around 5 p.m., under the blue skies and plenty of sunshine. Falun Gong practitioners from all over Spain came together at Plaza de Callao, located on Gran Vía, the most popular high-end shopping street in Madrid. This area is packed with tourists and locals all year round, and especially in the spring and summer.
Practitioners dressed in yellow demonstrated the five sets of meditative Falun Gong exercises in the middle of the plaza, with big banners reading “Falun Dafa is Good” and “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” in front. When the peaceful music accompanying the exercises began to play, the crowd of passers-by slowed down, and many people stopped to watch. Many tourists took pictures and recorded videos. People gladly accepted informational flyers from practitioners, eager to learn more about the practice.
A tourist from Shanghai, China, said he was really excited to see so many people practicing Falun Gong. He said he knew that Falun Dafa is great as his grandmother and aunt are practitioners. His grandmother is 93 years old but is still very healthy, he added, attributing that to her practice. He filmed some footage of Falun Gong practitioners doing the exercises together and collecting signatures to stop the persecution, saying that he would show it to his family and friends back home.
Practitioners also displayed large boards with information about Falun Dafa, as well as posters showing the torture methods used by the communist regime to persecute Falun Gong practitioners in China. After the exercise demonstration, practitioners took the time to clarify the facts about the persecution to passers-by, distributing leaflets and collecting petition signatures to stop the persecution.
Lawyer Carlos Iglesias is the plaintiff counsel for lawsuit against Jiang Zemin, the former head of the Chinese Communist Party Jiang Zemin who launched the persecution in 1999. Mr. Iglesias called on people to uphold fundamental human rights and help stop this unjust persecution of Falun Gong.
One Spanish woman, in her 60s, expressed her respect toward Falun Gong practitioners after signing the petition. When human rights are trampled, we need people to stand up and speak out for the victims, she said, adding that she admired the courage of Falun Gong practitioners.
Another elderly Spanish woman could not help but cry when signing the petition. Before she left, she hugged the Falun Gong practitioners at the petition table and thanked them for their efforts.
An overseas Chinese student stopped to study the posters. When a practitioner went over to give him an informational DVD, he smiled and said: “Thank you! I have seen all these. I know about the staged self-immolation hoax at Tiananmen Square [concocted by the Chinese regime to defame Falun Dafa]. You’d better save this for other Chinese people who haven’t seen it yet.”
When asked if he had withdrawn from the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliated youth leagues, as to symbolically separate himself from the crimes of the regime, the young man said: “I’ve already done it online, as the Internet is not censored here abroad. In addition, I’ve persuaded my parents to quit the Party, too.”
Before he left, he told practitioners: “Give it all you've got and keep up the great efforts!”
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