The weather for the past week has been unusually cold. This winter had been unusually warm so retail stores were holding early sales of their heavenly down-filled coats and jackets. But the weather suddenly turned to become extremely cold. Although we stayed close to the entrances of the nearby buildings while distributing truth-clarification materials and we all had gloves on, our fingers felt cold and stiff.
On January 22nd, 2005, 30 inches of snow fell in Manhattan in just a few hours. It was also very windy. The wind flipped my umbrella upward a couple of times. I removed my gloves to take photographs of Falun Gong practitioners standing in the snowstorm, and in just a few minutes my fingers were stung by the snow and suffered from frostbite. The following are a few photographs I took at one of Falun Gong practitioners’ torture exhibits in Manhattan.
At around 4 PM, I saw some Falun Gong practitioners from the U.S., Europe and Japan continuing to hold the torture exhibit despite the snowstorm. A few minutes later, I saw a Caucasian man spending a long time listening to a Falun Gong practitioner from England explaining China’s persecution of Falun Gong. Then the man signed the petition to end the persecution. I also saw another two Caucasian men come and sign the petition as well. One of them said excitedly, “I come from Argentina. I just don’t understand why the Chinese Communist government would do such a thing!” An American Falun Gong practitioner explained, “The Chinese Communist government controls all the media in China and uses the media to launch its smear campaign to incite its people to hate Falun Gong practitioners and to justify and sustain the persecution. With all the media being controlled by the Chinese Communist regime, we have no other way but to tell people the truth about Falun Gong.”
Some people stopped and asked us, “Why do you insist on continuing your cause in the snowstorm?” A Falun Gong practitioner answered, “It has been five years since Jiang Zemin started to persecute Falun Gong practitioners in China. They do not stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners because of snowstorms. The persecution continues each and every day and the number of Falun Gong practitioners tortured to death increases each and every day.” They understood us immediately. When we said to those who signed on the petition to end the persecution, “The best help you can offer is to tell your friends about the existence of the persecution,” they all answered with determination and sincerity in their voices, “I will do that.”
A western Falun Gong practitioner’s eyebrows and beard were covered with snow. Because of the wind and the snow, Falun Gong practitioners had to cover the posters with clear plastic sheets. They were also attentive to the fellow practitioners who volunteered to demonstrate the methods of torture that China uses on Falun Gong practitioners in China. They checked on these volunteers from time to time to prevent them from getting wet from the snow.
A 76-year-old Falun Gong practitioner named Zhang told me, “I am used to clarify the truth at the torture exhibit for ten hours a day. Every day I drink cool water and have cold Chinese buns with peanut butter.” A fellow practitioner offered her some hot food, but she politely declined the kind offer. She said, “I feel fine. I am already accustomed to cold food. It is growing on me. I have been having cold meals for months.”
A Falun Gong practitioner from Boston told me that a resident of Manhattan brought a copy of the latest Falun Gong Today newsletter and asked him if it was the latest issue. The man has been reading our Falun Gong related materials and VCDs, as well as Falun Gong Today (a newspaper containing facts about Falun Gong). The practitioner told me, “When he told me that he had been reading our materials, I realized there is a group of people in Manhattan that has been silently paying attention to our cause.”
A Falun Gong practitioner from Japan remembered a line from a poem titled “Plum Blossom” from Teacher’s Hongyin II: “The snow and rain from all over the sky are tears of gods and Buddhas.”
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