After winning first prize in the Edinburgh International Arts Festival Parade for two consecutive years, UK Dafa practitioners were invited to take part in the world-renowned Lord Mayor’s parade in London, the heart of English life and culture. In the London Evening Standard newspaper on 31st December, it was reported that the New Year's Day Parade would attract 400,000 spectators and would be televised to a global audience of 200 million. This was an important large-scale opportunity for people from the UK and abroad to learn more about Falun Dafa.
Practitioners showed the people of London the beauty of Chinese culture with traditional fan dancing, waist drum performances and a dragon dance. The beautiful costumes, banners and decorations of the Falun Dafa section of the parade, including a bright “Fa Boat”, warmed the heats of the audience on a cold and wet day. Although many of the practitioners were drumming or dancing for over an hour, they remained smiling and energetic throughout the procession. At many points during the parade, official announcers used PA systems to tell the audience: “Falun Dafa is a cultivation practice based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance.”
The parade passed by the Houses of Parliament, the Prime Minister’s residence in Downing Street, Nelson’s Column and Trafalgar Square. One UK resident, whosuffered interrogation and violence at the hands of Chinese authorities because he practises Falun Dafa, exclaimed, "The beauty of Falun Dafa and traditional Chinese culture touched the heart of London and many people shouted “Happy New Year” to us. In China, where Falun Gong was first taught to the public in 1992, the authorities force innocent people to slander Falun Gong or risk losing their freedom or livelihood. But the atmosphere in London was completely the opposite – people were very happy to see Falun Gong in their New Year celebrations."
The support from the people of London touched the practitioners’ hearts. Many people received a leaflet revealing more about the exercises of Falun Dafa and the persecution against this peaceful practice in China. Practitioners also handed out beautiful handmade paper Lotus Flowers with labels reading exactly what one of the official parade announcers told the audience: “The world needs Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance!”
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