France: Tourist Groups from Mainland China Visit the Louvre

On the 25th of January, after the Cultural Parade on the streets of Paris attended by 5000 people from all over China ended, lots of Chinese people who were in France for the first time enthusiastically joined the cavalcade of sight-seeing. In the early morning of the 27th, the blue sky of the Paris weekend suddenly disappeared into thin air, the temperature dropped and the frosty rain and sleet blew in the cold wind for a whole day. This gained the world famous art museum the Louvre, (a must for tourists) the favour of a bigger than usual attendance.

The visitors to the Louvre on Monday included a lot of Chinese people, outnumbering westerners many times over. Particulsrly in the hall of the main entrance leading to the Louvre’s three other display areas, frequently one could see Chinese tourist groups assembling there. Foreign travellers who did not know what was going on thought that Monday was Louvres’ Chinese Day.

Today the focus of most Mainland visitors was that everywhere in the Louvre there appeared pale blue jackets and yellow scarves displaying the words "Falun Dafa". The majority of European western Falun Gong practitioners wore orange badges clearly showing “Falun Dafa is good”, or yellow English badges of “I support Falun Gong”. It was because thousands of overseas Falun Gong practitioners came to Paris during the cultural festival from every country in Europe and also Taiwan, celebrating the New Year together with local French Chinese by performing Chinese traditional dances. Meanwhile, many Falun Gong practitioners from Europe and Taiwan, who came from a long way, off headed for the Louvre to admire its architecture and to see the true masterpieces of famous classic European artists.

The fact that so many western and overseas Chinese Falun Gong disciples strolled together in the Louvre caused the visitors from the Mainland to be unusually surprised. When several European westerner practitioners took a group picture of dressed in pale-blue jacketed Taiwanese Falun Gong disciples in the exhibition hall all the parties from mainland China present stopped to look and capture this scene. When a female traveller saw a Falun Gong practitioner’s yellow scarf, her eyes were wide open as she stared at the words “Falun Gong” and “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance” embroidered on to the scarf.

A Mainland visitor, who did not want to reveal his name said, when being interviewed: “Little did I think, when in China where we were used to always giving Falun Gong the cold shoulder, that out of my country I would see so many Falun Gong practitioners here touring and sightseeing just like us, and in my heart I feel all kinds of sensations, let it also be considered as opening my eyes widely.”

Nevertheless the majority of Mainland visitors avoided being interviewed, or adopted a unified attitude towards relevant issues. Exceptionally some people expressed tension and fear, as betrayed by some tour guides who received the visitors from the Mainland. Lots of Mainland people who come abroad on a business trip or as a tourist will have attended one or more sessions of special training before going to a foreign country, and would be forbidden to make contact after going abroad with Falun Gong or other organisations allegedly opposed to the Chinese government.

A western Falun Gong practitioner from Berlin said, when being interviewed, that the variety of reactions displayed when Mainland visitors see overseas Falun Gong practitioners is due to a culture shock. He said, once the citizens living in autocratic countries make contact with free western countries, they will always have responses this way or that. He also said that no matter what, he and other overseas Falun Gong practitioners would, by all means leave no stone unturned in telling the Mainland people of the Chinese government’s unfair treatment of Falun Gong in clarifying the truth about Falun Gong to help them to understand.

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