Ireland: A Warm Welcome for Falun Gong at the Festival of World Cultures in Dun Laoghaire

Two large Falun Gong banners and the beautiful Falun symbol were displayed on the main road coming into the town. About fifteen Falun Dafa practitioners, both Chinese and westerners, participated in the events on Saturday and Sunday. Four female practitioners presented a traditional Chinese fan dance, which received warm applause from the festival-goers. The five exercises of Falun Dafa were also demonstrated. The spectators seemed just as captivated by the slow moving exercises as they were by the colourful fan dancing. Many passers-by made enquires as to how and where they could learn the exercises in Ireland.

At a stall on the seafront the practitioners taught people how to fold paper lotus flowers and distributed as many as three hundred to the public. They explained that the particular significance of the lotus flower is as an allegory for practising cultivation: A pure, pristine flower which emerges only from the muddiest ground. The Chinese calligraphy stall, where passers by had their names written in Chinese as a memento, was also well received.

While people were learning more about the Falun Gong cultivation practice, they also learned about the ongoing persecution in China. The case of Ms Yang Fang, a student in the picturesque town of Dun Laoghaire whose education in Ireland was cut short due to the persecution, was particularly relevant to those at the Dun Laoghaire festival. Her passport was confiscated because of her refusal to renounce her belief in Falun Gong and she has been unable to return to Ireland. Many hundreds of signatures were collected on a petition to have her human rights restored and allow her the opportunity to come back to her studies.

People came to find out more.

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