On April 26th, 2008, U.K. Falun Gong practitioners held a rally and parade in London to commemorate the peaceful appeal at the State Appeal Office in Beijing on April 25th, 1999, and urged the international community to help put an end to the nine year long persecution against Falun Gong. The activities lasted for five hours and attracted a large number of people’s attention. Many Chinese people were among those who signed the petition to support the campaign after hearing the facts about the persecution.
Falun Gong practitioners first paraded in London’s busy business district. The procession set off from the Chinese Embassy and then proceeded to Oxford Street, Chinatown, Leicester Square, and finally arrived at the famous Trafalgar Square. The procession was made up of three groups: the waist-drummers, a group in white clothing holding photos of the practitioners persecuted to death, and the team expressing support for the 35 million Chinese quitting the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliated organisations.
The magnificent Falun Gong procession attracted a lot attention of people on the streets, and many people accepted flyers. Some passersby stopped to read the flyers they just received on the hectic street.
After arriving at the Trafalgar Square, Falun Gong practitioners sat in the square in front of the National Gallery to hold a press conference and then demonstrated the five sets of the Falun Gong exercises. After raining for some consecutive weeks, the weather in London today was exceptionally good. Since it was the first time for the city to have bright sunshine at the weekend, the streets in downtown were packed with people. There were a lot of tourists in Trafalgar Square. Tourists came from all directions to listen to the remarks made at the rally, read the flyers they accepted and watched the demonstration of the Falun Gong exercises. Sometimes, the tourists formed several circles to watch the demonstrations. Many people also signed the petition calling for putting an end to the persecution. Some people even started to learn the exercises on the spot. Throughout the afternoon, Falun Gong practitioners took turns to give away flyers and enthusiastically explain the facts about the persecution to tourists. When our reporter took a closer look at those tourists who had the opportunity to witness the Falun Gong rally, he found that the tourists were from all walks of life with diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
In his remarks, Peter Jauhal, Chairman of the U.K. Falun Gong Association, said that the Chinese Communist regime has escalated the suppressions against Falun Gong practitioners and other democracy activists in the run-up to the Olympics. In addition to demanding the regime immediately release all of the “Olympic prisoners,” he also called on various communities to help put an end to the regime’s persecution of Falun Gong. In his remarks before the rally was concluded, he said, “I hope that the British government would continue to strive to help thousands of people being persecuted in the name of hosting the Olympics be released as soon as possible. We also hope that the government can openly condemn the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong and on the other hand, we would like to call on the Chinese regime stop the nine-year long persecution against Falun Gong.
At the rally three Falun Gong practitioners who once were imprisoned in China’s forced labour camps due to practicing Falun Gong shared their respective experiences of being cruelly tortured and urged people around the world to help put an end to the cruel persecution against Falun Gong.
Quite a lot of Chinese were among the people watching the parade and the rally. Some of them stayed there for a long while and even talked to practitioners. Probably their kind hearts were touched by righteous messages from the Falun Gong practitioners.
Mr. Xu and Mr. Ho are Chinese students studying in the U.K. and it was their first time to see a large-scale Falun Gong rally. They were shocked because what they saw there was completely different from that reported by the media in China. They also expressed that they would like to find the truth about Falun Gong. Mr. Ho said, “I’ll try my best to find the truth of this matter. If I find it someday, I’ll come forward to speak up.” Mr. Xu also expressed that he would find the truth as well. He said, “I’ll stand up to do the righteous side justice.”
When interviewed by our reporter, another Chinese youngster surnamed Lai said that he heard of Falun Gong, and thought it inconceivable that the Chinese regime harvested organs from living Falun Gong practitioners. He expressed that based on what he saw today, Falun Gong is a peaceful meditation, is a righteous belief and that the activities held by Falun Gong practitioners that day was very good as it could convey a clear message to the Chinese government: “As the rest of the world is able to accept Falun Gong, why can’t China?”
Various banners displayed by Falun Gong practitioners, the peaceful and solemn faces of female practitioners in white clothing, the magnificent demonstration of the Falun Gong exercises along with the graceful music attracted many people’s attention. Many people, including some professional photographers, videotaped or photographed the exquisite scene one after another. Domnika, a freelance photographer from Poland, videotaped the activities organised by Falun Gong practitioners for several hours. She said that as she was in the process of preparing for a “China-made” photographic competition, she thought the rally had much to do with the theme of the competition by instinct upon seeing the activities. She also mentioned that she would try to know more about Falun Gong at home.
Kas was one of the policemen on duty there. After watching the demonstration of the Falun Gong exercises on the scene, he met the coordinator of a Falun Gong practice site in London and told the coordinator that he wanted to learn the Falun Gong exercises since he found that the Falun Gong exercises were wonderful. He left his phone number to the coordinator, saying, “See you in the park Saturday".
A large proportion of those non-Chinese people who were interviewed said that they heard of Falun Gong for the first time that day and didn’t understand why the CCP persecuted Falun Gong. However, they in general think it is very meaningful that Falun Gong practitioners spread the truth and oppose the persecution through such activities. They said that they would make time to know more about Falun Gong at home. . .
Ula and her daughter said, “It is of significant meaning to spread the truth and let people know the truth.”
A British mother and her daughter carefully watched Falun Gong practitioners demonstrate the exercises. When reporter asked about their feeling at the scene, the mother, Ula, said, “These are extremely peaceful and very balanced exercises.” As to the nine year persecution of Falun Gong both them said that they felt sad about the on-going persecution and thought the CCP’s approach is ridiculous; nothing wrong with these practitioners and China needs to change. They supported Falun Gong practitioners’ anti-persecution campaign and other efforts to stop the persecution, and hoped people can learn the truth. The daughter said, “It’s great you’re standing here. It is of significant meaning that you are here in Trafalgar Square to spread the truth to people from all over the world and let people know the truth.” Later both of them signed the petition.
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