At 11AM and in the rain, the press conference started outside of the Houston City Council Building. First, six practitioners went up to demonstrate the exercises and two practitioners introduced the mind and body benefits of practicing Falun Gong to the guests. The audience was also told that six practitioners demonstrating the exercises were from different social circles. Together they consisted of a teacher, medical doctor, nurse, PhD researcher, company manager and university student.
Many practitioners exposed the persecution of their relatives in China, citing evidence. Wang Xiaodan is a university student in Texas. Her father was sentenced to 17 years of imprisonment because of practicing Falun Gong. He was tortured and beaten up in the prison. Xiaodan told the audience that her parents divorced when she was very young. The father and the daughter relied upon each other. Due to this persecution, she had not seen her father for 3 years. Xiaodan, who is 21 years old continued, "I miss my father very much. I hope all kindhearted people help to rescue him." Jason Wang from Houston told the audience that his mother was detained in a mental hospital. The doctor in that mental hospital told him that his mother "was not hospitalized because of mental illness. It is because she appealed for Falun Gong." But the Jiang regime has never admitted that it uses mental hospitals in the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.
John Nania provided a series of facts regarding Jiang's regime extending the illegal persecution persecution to overseas countries. He listed the severe human rights violations when Jiang visited Iceland, Germany and America. He especially mentioned a recent issue. A few days ago, the hotel rooms reserved by Falun Gong practitioners were cancelled without reason. Nania pointed out that, "The legal residents of America, even the elected government officials, media, American businessmen in China and Chinese students studying in America have become the targets of another country's leader's attack. This makes Americans very uneasy." In the end, Mr. Nania invited the people of Texas, who are famous for their warmth and sympathy, to join the Falun Gong practitioners' appeal and experience Falun Gong's peacefulness personally.
A representative of the Houston City Council gave a short speech too. He repeated and emphasized that the city supports Falun Gong practitioners' right to appeal and expressed concern and sympathy over what is happening in China.
All major media in Houston attended the press conference. Over 20 different media attended the event to report on it and conduct interviews. Media included ABC, CBS, NBC, Channel 39, Fox, five local TV channels, the largest local newspaper Houston Chronicle, Radio 90.1KPFT and RFA. After the speeches, the media interviewed the practitioners in person for over half an hour.
During the press conference, over 300 practitioners from the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Taiwan and other countries stood firmly behind the speakers in the rain. They held banners reading, "Falun Dafa is Good" "Dictator Jiang: Stop Persecuting Falun Gong," "Please Help Rescue My Family Member" in both Chinese and English. After the press conference, the practitioners paraded through downtown Houston in the rain. Ms. Hong from New York told the reporter after the parade, "So many people overcame difficulties and came from all places to speak out for justice, to let more people hear the truth and facts and to help the practitioners in China. They stood and walked in the rain for a long time but no one complained. This deeply moved me."
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