United Kingdom: Connecting with Falun Gong in London's Chinatown

Chinese people in the U.K. who are curious about Falun Gong can count on meeting practitioners in London's Chinatown, where practitioners maintain a regular presence to raise awareness of the practice and the persecution in China. There, they can also obtain help to quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations.

On one occasion, practitioner Xiaoyun offered a flyer to a young Chinese couple. After finding out that the flyer was about Falun Gong, the man said, “I have been wanting to meet a Falun Gong practitioner. You are the first one I've seen in many years.”

Xiaoyun learned that the young man was from Shanghai and was working in London. He was visiting Chinatown with his girlfriend.

Xiaoyun showed them pictures of the staged self-immolation on Tiananmen Square in 2001, a major smear campaign launched by the CCP years ago to slander Falun Gong and justify the persecution. Many Chinese people have been misled by the constant stream of negative propaganda. Xiaoyun explained clearly how the whole event had been staged by the CCP, including having police officers on the square with fire extinguishers the day of the immolation, and cameras and photographers set up at strategic locations to document the event.

Xiaoyun then showed the couple pictures of large-scale group exercises of Falun Gong practitioners in parks in China before the persecution began, and explained that there were about 70 to 100 million people practicing Falun Gong. Many Chinese media outlets ran positive stories about Falun Gong. Zhuan Falun, the main Falun Gong book, was one of the ten best sellers in 1996, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

The young man remarked, “This is what I want to know about Falun Gong. For a long time, I wondered why so many people practiced it. I don't believe the [Chinese] state media's propaganda. There must be some reason that people choose to practice Falun Gong.”

Xiaoyun shared her own reason for taking up the practice: “I joined the Falun Gong practice because I liked the teaching in Zhuan Falun 'Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is the sole criterion to discern good and bad people.' In this society, if one can be compassionate and tolerant, and always look inward in any conflicts, one is already benefiting from the practice.”

Xiaoyun also asked the couple if they had heard of quitting the CCP and its affiliated organizations. The young woman said she had received phone calls about it in China but had hung up immediately out of fear of retaliation from the CCP. After Xiaoyun explained to them the reasons to quit, they both agreed to quit the communist organizations.

One Saturday, Xiaoyun met an old colleague and her husband from the Chinese medicine store where they had worked in China 14 years ago. The couple were browsing in Chinatown and were happy to meet Xiaoyun again. They also wanted to know more about Falun Gong, upon learning that Xiaoyun had taken up the practice.

Xiaoyun briefly told them that the then CCP head Jiang Zemin launched the persecution in July 1999. Among the terrible crimes perpetrated by the CCP in the persecution, is the state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners.

The woman asked if the persecution of Falun Gong had ended, because she had not heard anything negative about Falun Gong in the Chinese state-controlled media for some time.

“No. The persecution is still quite severe in China,” Xiaoyun responded. She told them that due to pressure from the rest of the world, the CCP changed its tactics and moved the persecution underground. It has decreased public reports about arrests and incarceration of Falun Gong practitioners to deceive the world, but the persecution has never stopped. Xiaoyun also gave them several examples of their former work colleagues who had been persecuted.

The couple agreed to quit the communist organizations that they had once joined, and took a flyer to read at home.

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