Falun Gong in Europe: Falun Dafa is Becoming Popular in Austria

A lot of people will think of Vienna when Austria is mentioned. Salzburg might be less familiar, but remember The Sound of Music? The city featured in that film is Salzburg, the second largest city in Austria.

In a small park that lies between Mirabel Garden and the Salzburg International Convention Centre, a group of Falun Gong practitioners practise exercises at weekends. Peaceful exercise music and the beautiful exercises attract tourists from all over the world who stop and watch. They often take leaflets away with them. Many of the tourists are from China. These practitioners have practised exercises here for almost six years.

Practitioners in Austria practise the Falun Gong exercises together

Uschi and Silvia are two middle aged women. They are friends and in-laws. Their two children got to know each other through practising Falun Gong and then got married.

Uschi was born into a very rich family in the city. Although she lived a rich and carefree life, in the course of her growing up, she felt as if she was always looking for something. On May 13th 1998, at a Chinese Shaolin Buddhist monks' performance held by the TV station in Salzburg, Uschi bought a qigong book with a blue cover: it was Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Dafa. She was impressed by the principles of "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" which Master Li elaborates on in the book and determined to practise Falun Gong.

At the beginning, there were no other practitioners; she could only watch the instruction videotape and learn the movements from it. Later, she got into contact with practitioners in other cities and was able to correct her wrong movements. After she began practising Falun Gong, her body and mind improved and she gave up smoking, a habit for many years. After having seen the change in her, her son and friends began to cultivate in earnest.

Anti-torture exhibition in the Old City

On July 20th 1999, Jiang Zemin and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched the persecution of Falun Gong; the propaganda slandering Falun Gong spread all over the world. As a native Austrian, Uschi did not know what to do and what had happened to the ancient Eastern land that she loved deeply. In order for ordinary people to know the truth of Falun Dafa, in the spring of 2000 Uschi had a huge poster about Falun Gong printed and signed a long-term contract with the airport of Vienna to have the poster hung in the airport lounge. However, after only one month, Vienna airport terminated the contract due to China's threat to cede the official relations between the two countries. Later, Uschi hung the poster in her hometown, in a tunnel with busy traffic in Salzburg. It has been there for six years now.

Poster about Falun Dafa

Uschi's son Helmut is a graduate student who studies law in a doctorate programme. For many years, he has made efforts together with other practitioners in urging the CCP to stop persecuting Falun Gong. He once applied for a visa from the Chinese Embassy in order to go to China, yet was rejected because he is a Falun Gong practitioner. This was reported by local major newspapers and enabled local people to know the about the nature of the persecution of Falun Gong by the CCP. He also wrote letters and mailed information about the persecution to the President, the Premier and government departments of Austria.

His wife Johanna is a University student at the art institute, studying fine art and sculpture. Johanna often distributes materials about Falun Gong to Chinese tourists. Because a lot of Chinese have never seen foreigners practising Falun Gong, they wanted to take photos with her. Johanna also is a member of the "Coming for you" choir in Europe. This choir was established in order to take part in performances to draw attention to the persecution of Falun Gong. She often travels overseas to participate in performances at her own expense. From Hong Kong, London to Athens, Greece, from New York to Paris, she has left her footprints in a lot of countries.

Johanna's mother Sylvia is a high level manager of the first-aid department of the local Red Cross. She often volunteers to help work to end the persecution after work. She often distributes materials about Falun Gong at tourist attractions where Chinese tourists can see them. Lately the practitioners came up with a good idea. They made a banner on which is inscribed "Chinese pride. The whole world says Falun Gong is good!" While practising the exercises, Chinese tourists passing by will see it.

With the constant spread of Falun Gong in Salzburg, recently a lot of new practitioners have joined. Falun Gong has got support from a lot of local people too. A resident who often passed by the exercise site in the past few years said to the practitioners, "You Falun Gong practitioners are the hope of Salzburg!" The peace and beauty of Falun Gong has already rooted itself in the minds of people in countries all over the world. The lies of the CCP will lead to its own demise, because evil cannot triumph over goodness. As Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong said, "In history the persecution of righteous belief has never succeeded."

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