Oktoberfest in Munich began on September 16 and ended on October 3, 2023. On three Saturdays during the event, Falun Dafa practitioners held activities to introduce the spiritual practice and tell people about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution at tourist destinations and on pedestrian streets in Munich.
Oktoberfest originated in October 1810, when Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, later King Ludwig I, married Princess Theresa of Saxony, Germany. On Theresa Meadow outside of Munich, the city celebrated the wedding for five days. It was said that this prince was very generous and invited everyone to eat and drink to celebrate the wedding. It gradually evolved into an annual October Festival. People celebrated the harvest, thanked Heaven for protecting them, and expressed their hopes for good weather in the coming year.
This was the 188th Oktoberfest, and it lasted 18 days, including German Unity Day. A record 7.2 million visitors participated this year.
Falun Dafa practitioners held activities on Sendlinger Street on September 16, at Karlsplatz on September 23, and on Marienplatz next to City Hall on September 30. They used banners and display boards and demonstrated the exercises to introduce Falun Dafa to tourists and locals alike. Many signed the petition calling for an end to the persecution.
The CCP Destroys Traditional Culture
Korinna is a journalist. She saw the practitioners’ event at Marienplatz and said she’s seen it several times and thought the atmosphere was peaceful. She signed the petition to end the persecution.
Korinna said that the CCP’s organ harvesting from Falun Dafa practitioners while they are alive is a serious issue. “This is a very important topic. If it [my signature] can help it, I will be happy to do it.
“I think these issues are very important. Organ theft is a worldwide problem, especially in China. The CCP is a dictatorship and must be dismantled.”
For 24 years, the CCP has persecuted Falun Dafa and not allowed people to practice Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Korinna said, “That is bad. This practice should not be banned.”
Korinna said that practitioners do a good job telling people about the persecution. “Of course it’s important. This kind of ban on people [for their belief] can only happen in authoritarian countries, so it must be exposed.”
Talking about the loss of traditions, Korinna said, “In the past, everyone wore beautiful traditional clothes to participate in Oktoberfest, and the children were well-dressed. Starting over ten years ago, I think Oktoberfest is slowly turning into a carnival. I think the traditional costumes and music parade at the beginning are very good, because it really maintains the tradition.”
She said that wearing traditional clothing does not necessarily mean that one was maintaining the tradition. She said that it was a tradition for everyone to thank God for his protection and celebrate the harvest. Korinna said that maintaining tradition is “very important, and going back to our roots is nice.”
Regarding the CCP’s destroying traditions and the persecution of Falun Dafa, she said, “It’s really sad. China used to be a nation with a great culture, but now it has been destroyed.”
Raising Awareness of the Persecution Is Important
Monika Matt, a social worker, and Eva Stuckenberger, a pharmacist, live in Munich. They’d gone shopping and met Falun Dafa practitioners on Karlsplatz. As soon as they saw the banner calling for an end to the CCP organ harvesting, they signed the petition.
Ms. Stuckenberger said, “We feel like we should do something about it, and something as simple as a signature, we’re happy to do. There’s a lot of information on this in media reports, so we must support this kind of activity that exposes the persecution of human rights.” Ms. Matt agreed.
They said that the atmosphere at practitioners’ activities was very good. Ms. Stukenberger said it was cordial. Ms. Matt said, “Everyone is friendly. The display board [about the organ harvesting] is imposing and makes people uncomfortable—it’s a big contrast.”
Both of them said that it was important for practitioners to continue telling people about the persecution. Ms. Matt said, “Because China is far from Germany, we don’t know what’s happening and are unaware of it. So that everyone can be aware of these circumstances, I think it is important to do what you are doing.”
Peaceful Exercise Demonstration
Physiotherapist Stefan said that he’s often seen practitioners’ activities. That day, he accompanied his friends to Oktoberfest and passed by Marienplatz. When he saw Falun Dafa practitioners collecting signatures, he went to the booth.
“Stealing human organs is really outrageous. The German government has done too little about this, so I signed the petition. I hope it can help,” he said.
He said that practitioners’ activities were positive. On the one hand, the organ harvesting from living practitioners is sad. On the other hand, the scenes of practitioners practicing the exercises are calm and pleasing. The contrast between the two is great. He said, “[Falun Dafa] makes people calm, and the music also makes people feel peaceful. They are like Bodhisattvas, which makes me feel great.”
He said the persecution of practitioners who follow Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance is unreasonable. He said that the CCP “is bad and corrupt—China does not have human rights like Germany and Europe.” He said that it was important to expose the CCP’s persecution, “It is important to expose this publicly, because innocent people’s organs are stolen and they are killed.” He signed the petition to end the CCP’s atrocities.
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