Australia: Practitioners Participate in the Granny Smith Apple Festival in Eastwood

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Eastwood is where the Granny Smith Apple originated, thus the Granny Smith Apple Festival became a tradition in the North district of Sydney. This year marked the 19th anniversary of this festival and it is also the fifth time that Falun Gong practitioners took part in the celebration.

The City of Eastwood belongs to the electoral district of Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and each year, several Parliament Members make appearances during the celebration. On October 16th this year, as usual, Falun Gong practitioners set up an information booth and provided exercise instruction. What was different from previous years was that in the parade, a procession showing the worldwide spread of Falun Gong was added and the float, which practitioners began decorating at 4am, was also very unique.

Practitioners holding banners "Truth-Compassion-Tolerance" in various languages Procession Float and Falun Gong exercise demonstration
Spectators Falun Gong information booth People learning about Falun Gong

One week before the parade, local newspapers mentioned that Falun Gong would join the festivities. As the float, waist-drum troupe, and a dance team dressed in Tang Dynasty costumes slowly walked by, not only westerners but also Chinese people warmly applauded and cheered. A Cantonese family was also watching the parade on the roadside. The gentleman kept saying, "Look! Falun Gong! Falun Gong!" A lady smiled and waved to a practitioner who was dressed in a Tang Dynasty costume. The practitioner then asked her, "Do you know about Falun Gong?" The lady said, "Yes, I do!" Although she did not say much, her expression showed her admiration and appreciation of the practitioners. Upon seeing western practitioners in the procession, a senior couple from Beijing said to each other, "Wow! Westerners practise too!" A practitioner on the roadside then explained the facts to them. The gentleman asked, "You are so young and you also practise Falun Gong?" The practitioner told him that he could learn more about Falun Gong during his visit in Australia. The gentleman smiled in agreement.

Because two months ago a local newspaper reported the incident in which Mr David Liang was shot in South Africa during several Chinese officials' visit to that country, many local residents came to our information booth to sign the petition supporting the effort against the persecution. A Chinese person attentively watched the exercise demonstration and asked, "Is it hard to learn Falun Gong? Where can I buy the exercise music audiotape?" After listening to a practitioner's explanation, he said that he would go to the public library to borrow a copy of the book Falun Gong to read.

At noon, the festival organiser invited practitioners to give performances on the main stage. In the short 20 minutes, practitioners performed four programs, including waist-drumming performed by young practitioners, a Taiwanese folk dance, exercise demonstration and a Tang Dynasty costume show.

A city council member's wife was very interested in the practise of Falun Gong. She immediately called to ask for information about a local practise site. She said that she would come on Monday morning to learn the exercises. Upon learning that the instruction of Falun Gong exercises is free of charge and all people are welcome to learn, she was very surprised. She said that she would ask her friends and daughter to come and learn the exercises as well. The city council member commented that the Falun Gong group does things very sincerely and persistently. Practitioners told him, "Because we benefit from the practise of Falun Gong so much, we wish to give others the opportunity to benefit from it as well."

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