Events Across Europe Call Attention to Atrocity in China & Mark 17 Years of Peaceful Resistance pt 1

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Seventeen years ago on July 20, 1999, former Chinese president Jiang Zemin launched a brutal persecution against the peaceful spiritual practice of Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong. Since that time, hundreds of thousands of Dafa practitioners have been imprisoned and tortured, thousands have died due to torture and abuse, and an untold number have fallen victim to state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting.

For the past 17 years, practitioners inside and outside of China have continued to raise awareness of Falun Dafa and expose the persecution in an effort to bring an end to the atrocities.

Each year around July 20, practitioners around the world hold special events to draw increased awareness of what is happening in China. Here we report on events throughout Europe.

Practitioners held an information day event in Vaduz, the capital city of Liechtenstein, on July 20, to raise awareness of the persecution in China and the state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience by the Chinese regime.

Information Day event in front of the government building in Vaduz, Liechtenstein Two Chinese tourists accept a flier from a Falun Gong practitioner

The principality of Liechtenstein is a wealthy micro-state in central Europe nestled between Switzerland and Austria. Liechtenstein's beautiful Alps mountains and high living standard attracts tourists from all over the world, including many Chinese.

Upon stopping at the practitioners' information booth, many tourists remarked that this was their first time to hear about the Chinese regime's forced organ harvesting crimes. Many visitors signed a petition expressing their support for Falun Gong.

Large numbers of Chinese tourists also heard about the forced organ harvesting in their homeland for the first time. Some talked to practitioners, wanting to know more about the worldwide lawsuits against Jiang Zemin. Jiang is being sued by practitioners and supporters for launching the devastating persecution.

Practitioners held a similar Information Day event at Herrengasse in Graz, Austria on July 22.

One woman told a practitioner that she knew about the persecution of Falun Gong in China but was not aware of the large scale forced organ harvesting crimes. She commented that the local media should report in more depth about the persecution.

A passerby signs a petition supporting Falun Gong's efforts against the persecution

Polish practitioners held a series of activities in July marking the 17th year of the persecution.

From July 12 to 17, practitioners participated in the Woodstock Music Festival in Kostrzynia, a border city near Germany. Approximately 300,000 visitors attended the festival, most of them young people.

Practitioners collected nearly 10,000 signatures on a petition against the persecution. Many young people also expressed interest in learning Falun Gong.

On July 20, practitioners staged a rally in front of Parliament Hall in Warsaw. The activities caught the attention of many Members of Parliament.

Falun Gong exercise demonstration near Parliament Hall in Warsaw on July 20

Practitioners gathered again in Warsaw on July 24 for a sitting protest in front of the Chinese Embassy and a signature drive in the city's Old Town. Tourists and local residents stood in line to sign a petition calling to end the inhuman organ harvesting and trafficking in China.

Many Chinese visitors stopped at the information table, taking fliers and listening to practitioners talk about Falun Dafa and the persecution. A Chinese tour guide sat by the table for a long time and listened attentively. More than 6,000 signatures were collected that day.

Practitioners in Finland held a peaceful protest and a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Embassy in Helsinki on July 20. Many people signed a petition supporting Falun Gong's efforts to bring an end to the persecution. A number of people also commented that the brutal persecution should stop immediately.

An elderly Chinese tourist, Mr. Wang told a practitioner that he had known many practitioners in China and also saw many Falun Gong activities while visiting other countries. He expressed his respect for Falun Gong and said that he and his friends all agreed that practitioners had endured a very difficult 17 years.

Passersby sign a petition supporting Falun Gong's efforts to end the persecution Peaceful protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Helsinki

Practitioners in northwestern Germany were in Bremen on July 9 to collect signatures calling for an end to the suppression in China. Events were also held in Freiburg, a university city in southwest Germany, on July 22, and Munich on July 23.

Practitioners hold a booth and demonstrate the exercises in Munich

Outside St. Paul's Church on July 23, a landmark in central Frankfurt, Falun Gong practitioners put up posters and did the mediation to draw attention to the ongoing suppression in China. One tourist said to a practitioner, “I am from Hong Kong and I support you.”

Doing the exercises next to St. Paul's Church in Frankfurt

At peak travel season, a large number of tour buses arrive every day. The tourists, including many from China, like to walk around, shop, eat, and sightsee. One of the first things they often see as they get off the bus is a banner that says, “The World Needs Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.” Pointing to the practitioners doing the exercises, one Chinese tourist said to the others in his tour group, “Hey, look! There’s Falun Gong!”

Other passersby were very supportive. Local resident Ms. Moschel-Spohr was disturbed to hear about the brutal persecution taking place in China, especially organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners. “It is a very sad situation. I will always support you.”

Vojtech Heidelberg, a young man, had never heard of Falun Gong before. He signed a petition calling for an end to the persecution after learning about the situation in China. “I really hope there is something that I can do to help you,” he said.

Next to the Eiffel Tower, Falun Gong practitioners in Paris set up posters and collected signatures from passerby on Human Rights Square on July 17. Practitioners doing the meditation caught the attention of many tourists and residents.

Emanuel, a manager with an IT firm, was surprised to learn that practitioners have been tortured for their belief: “I did not believe the communist party in China could be this bad. Compared to the nation's glorious history, this is a disgrace.”

Tourists read posters about Falun Gong on Human Rights Square on July 17 Two passersby sign petitions at the event near the Chinese Embassy in Paris on July 22

Philippe Dupont, a computer network engineer, was walking with his children when they saw the Falun Gong practitioners' booth. After reading each poster, he was in tears: “This [forced organ harvesting] is terrible. We are all human beings and this affects us all.”

Practitioners met in front of the Chinese Embassy in Paris on July 22 to do the exercises and tell people about the persecution in China.

“The persecution of Falun Gong is a state crime launched by Jiang Zemin in 1999,” explained by Tang Hanlong, director of the French Falun Dafa Association. “This persecution includes arrest, detention, torture, slave labour, and forced organ harvesting.”

Jiang Youlu, a human rights advocate, said he admired practitioners' courage. Because the Chinese Communist Party has done horrible things for decades, he recommended that the Chinese people separate themselves from the communist regime for a better future. “I am 81 years now, and I have seen enough to know the Party is going down. And you do not want to sink with it.”

Northern Ireland
Following a march on July 23, Falun Gong practitioners in Northern Ireland held a rally at Arthur Square in Belfast that afternoon. Both events attracted much attention.

Falun Gong practitioners marched from City Hall, down Donegall Place, Royal Avenue, and Castle Place, and returned to Arthur Square Group practice at Arthur Square

A group of Italian students were shocked to hear about forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China. All 23 students signed a petition to support practitioners.

Mr. and Mrs. Williams, a couple from the United States, said they had taught in China and had witnessed practitioners being mistreated. “In the face of an atrocity like this, everyone needs to do his or her part to stop it.”

Pmair, local resident in Belfast, said it was too bad that something like forced organ harvesting could occur in this day and age. “I think the British people and the British government must pay attention this. Transplant tourism should stop, because we cannot get involved in killing.”

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