United Kingdom: Revealing the Truth of the Persecution to the People of Middlesbrough

On the 29th of November, several Falun Gong practitioners travelled from around England to reveal the truth of the persecution in China to the people of Middlesbrough. Despite the chilly weather, the practitioners determinedly told the people of Middlesbrough about Falun Gong and exposed the terrible crimes that have been committed against Falun Gong practitioners under the direct orders of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.

I arrived at a very cold and rainy Middlesbrough train station at around 10.45. My first impressions of Middlesbrough was that it was quite a rough place with many of the houses by the train station being boarded up and graffiti all over the place, I wondered what sort of reception Falun Dafa would receive from the people here. My impression of the place was short-lived, however, because as soon as I walked away from the train station and towards the centre of Middlesbrough the place changed. It became a very clean and quaint town with a hive of activities through the main street. Many shops were on both sides of the street, which was kept clean and had flowers and benches dotted around. Above the main street were many colourful Christmas lights and the energy of the whole place was really nice.

In no time at all we found the area where Falun Gong activity was to be held. It was on one of the main streets that led to the market with a vast amount of people walking past. As I arrived, I saw several practitioners trying to get a banner to stay on the wall so I immediately went over to help. The banner had several pictures of re-enactments of tortures used in China on Falun Gong practitioners by police. Throughout the day many people were drawn to this banner and asked questions about it, even without any of the practitioners approaching them.

Either side of the banner were free-standing boards with details of the persecution and of what Falun Gong is. They often attracted the attention of many people who stopped to read them. At the site there was also a table with several petitions and some leaflets. There were two types of petition: the first one was to help rescue practitioners’ family members who are being persecuted in China for practising Falun Gong. The second petition was calling for Jiang Zemin to be brought to justice in a court of law, charging him with genocide and crimes against humanity for persecuting Falun Gong. Next to this table the practitioners performed the five sets of Falun Gong exercises.

As soon as the site was set up the practitioners set to work doing what they thought they should. Without anyone organising the efforts some practitioners picked up flyers and petition forms and went to speak to the people walking past and hand out flyers. Other practitioners started performing the exercises so that people could see how peaceful and serene the practice is. I choose to man the table and talk to people who came to get a leaflet or sign the petition. About five minutes after we started the rain stopped, the previously completely grey sky cleared and the sun even came out!

I had many experiences of the kindness of the people of Middlesbrough. Many kids would come over to ask about what Falun Gong is and showed a lot of curiosity. They would look at the pictures on the banner and ask why people are beaten up so badly just for practising these peaceful exercises. It was difficult to explain that one man’s jealousy could cause such a devastating persecution. I told them that in July 1999 Jiang Zemin found out that there were millions of people in China practising Falun Gong, in fact so many that there were more practitioners than communist party members (to which they usually gave a confused face since they didn’t know what Communism was!) I explained that due to this he banned Falun Gong and said that anyone who refused to give up Falun Gong was to be sentenced to forced labour, beaten and tortured and that even if the practitioners died as a result of this, it would just be reported that they committed suicide. After this they would sign the petition and even get their friends to sign as well.

One time whilst at the table another kid turned up and asked what we were doing. Before I could reply, a woman who was signing the petition and I hadn’t had chance to speak to yet turned around and said, “These people are really peaceful, really nice people but they are getting beaten up in China. If you don’t want peaceful people to get beaten up you should sign this petition.” At the time there was a little crowd around the table and upon hearing this most of the people signed.

Later on in the day a very rough looking man turned up at the table. He had dirty hands and face with very scraggy clothes on but a heart of gold. He was unable to speak but some of the kids knew him so they told him to come over and sign the petition. At first he was a bit reluctant but he took a leaflet and read it carefully. After reading the leaflet he went and read every poster, banner and board we had, constantly pointing at the pictures of practitioners being persecuted. After that he came back to the table and studied closely everything on the table. We had a book on the table that described the persecution in detail and he must have read that for a good 5 minutes again constantly pointing at the pictures of the practitioners being persecuted. When there was nothing else to read he signed both the petitions then stood for a long while watching the practitioners exercise. Although this man did not have much money or social status, he was still concerned about the persecuted Dafa practitioners in China and did what he could to help them. If anyone ever asks me what Middlesbrough is like I will always remember the rough looking man that came to the table; on the outskirts it may be a little run down but inside there is goodness and kindness.

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