On February 22 2003, Hong Kong Falun Gong practitioners successfully held the 2003 Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference. Over 700 Falun Gong practitioners from 20 countries attended the conference.
The conference was held in the auditorium of a social service organisation. Among over 700 in attendance, more than 500 were from 19 different countries, including Taiwan, America, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Macao and several European countries. Due to a limited number of seats, the hall was filled to capacity, and over 100 practitioners were not able to enter the conference hall. The atmosphere of the Fa conference was solemn and harmonious. A dozen practitioners from different areas shared their cultivation experiences. Congratulatory messages from overseas were also read at the conference.
Some 80 practitioners from Taiwan and other countries were refused entry to Hong Kong in the two days prior to the conference. Some of them received violent treatment.
On the morning of February 23, over 800 Falun Gong practitioners separated into two groups. One formed Chinese characters and the other performed the exercises.
At 8:00 a.m., about 450 practitioners in their bright yellow exercises suits gathered at Tsim Sha Tsui Seashore Park. They formed four huge Chinese characters meaning, "Righteous Thoughts and Righteous Actions." This scene attracted many tourists passing by, and some of them asked to learn the Falun Dafa exercises.
Over 800 practitioners practised the exercises in front of Wan Chai Immigration Tower. After a press conference, they marched to Hong Kong headquarters to deliver a petition letter opposing Article 23 legislation and protesting the SAR government's denial of entry to over 80 Falun Gong practitioners from abroad.
One week before the conference, a hotel suddenly cancelled the booking of the conference venue. Three months ago, this five-star hotel agreed to rent a site for Falun Gong practitioners, signed the lease and accepted a deposit. However, on February 14, after Falun Gong practitioners informed the police about their plan for the conference, that very afternoon the practitioners received notice of the cancelled booking. The practitioners pointed out that Hong Kong is to a large degree an unfair environment for Falun Gong, but that they were even more disappointed by the sudden change in the hotel's position, making them suspect that the hotel was pressured to cancel the lease by the government.
Since the middle of 2000, the Hong Kong government has refused over 70 applications in total from Falun Gong practitioners for renting a site to hold activities. Since private organisations have also received undue pressure, it has become very difficult for Falun Gong practitioners to rent a site from hotels.
On the afternoon of February 23, over 800 Falun Gong practitioners held a parade protesting against Article 23 legislation's suppression of human rights, and protesting the government for refusing entry to Falun Gong practitioners abroad.
Nine flags of different colours bearing the words, "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance" and "Falun Dafa" interwoven in the procession were very eye-catching. There were also many banners of different sizes bearing messages introducing Falun Dafa, opposing Article 23 and calling for an end to persecution and for urgent rescue. Some practitioners held display boards in their hands. The long procession set out from Wan Chai Immigration Tower heading to the government headquarters.
The procession marched peacefully and in good order along the street. Practitioners in the procession handed out flyers to passersby and smiled and waved to vehicles passing by, attracting many people's attention and kind responses. It is the first time that the Hong Kong government approved a Falun Gong march on a major street.
Before the parade, the practitioners held a press conference, appealing against the Hong Kong government's denying entry to over 80 practitioners from abroad. A Hong Kong Falun Gong spokesperson expressed that they could absolutely not accept the SAR government's denial of entry to Falun Gong practitioners. This matter should not have happened in a peaceful and open society.
Jiang's persecution of Falun Gong has violated not only China's constitution and law, but also related international human rights agreements and laws. Practitioners from abroad recounted the persecution they suffered in China and the lawsuit against Jiang overseas.
When the procession marched to the headquarters, practitioners delivered a statement of global Falun Gong practitioners opposing Article 23 legislation, and an appeal letter concerning the denial of entry.
Hong Kong Falun Gong practitioners held their first public forum against Article 23. The invited speakers included renowned people from different social strata and Falun Gong practitioners from overseas. Most speakers mentioned in their speeches that in the course of opposing the evil law, as long as we persevere, victory would ultimately belong to the righteous side.
The speakers included Legislative Councillors Lau Wai-hing and Leung Yeuk-jung, Director of Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor Law Yuk-kai, Rev. Fung Chi-wood, Civil Human Rights Front member Chaai Yeuk-chong and Hong Kong Alliance In Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China member Tou Kwan-hing. They called for everyone to be determined and not be afraid of Article 23.
Falun Gong practitioners from overseas recounted their personal suffering from the persecution, and hoped that the Hong Kong citizens will see clearly the severe consequences Article 23 will bring to them.
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