Italy: Government Officials in Sardinia Show Concern for the Persecution of Falun Gong

From August the 23rd to September the 13th, a Swiss Falun Gong practitioner went to Olbia city on the island of Sardinia in southern Italy. Every morning he practised Falun Gong exercises in a park and set up a series of display boards so that passers-by were able to read about Falun Gong and the persecution that practitioners in China are suffering.

Early one morning, when passing by the park, two policemen read the information on the display boards carefully. After having a brief conversation with the practitioner, they thanked him for the wonderful display boards and in particular for teaching local people the Falun Gong exercises for free and telling them about the persecution in China.

An A4 poster introducing Falun Gong was displayed in Olbia’s city centre. The authorities also gave permission for posters to be displayed in the City Hall, and at the entrance to the police station. In addition, the Governor of Sassari Province personally asked the practitioner about the campaign of genocide that is being waged against people who practise Falun Gong in China. Sassari is Sardinia's capital. The governor was surprised that the practitioner then visited him and provided him with information without requesting anything in return. This practitioner was warmly introduced to the Minister of Culture because the Governor believed that the Minister also needed to know about Falun Gong.

A small-scale activity to promote Falun Gong was planned for Olbia City’s Piazza on September the 2nd. The practitioner from Switzerland submitted an application and paid the fee but the permit for the event on September the 2nd was not granted because it needed to be signed by a high-ranking official who was on holiday and no one in that department was authorized to sign on his behalf. Someone suggested that the activity be held without a permit. While waiting for the permit, the practitioner told the officials about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. He also said that the activity would never be held without a permit, as he felt that this would be against the principle of “Truthfulness.” The Minister of Culture thus reported this matter to another higher-ranking official, and then that official personally signed the permit even though he was not responsible for this matter.

The activity was held as scheduled and the result was good. Some reporters from Olbia’s local newspapers came to interview Falun Gong practitioners. Two newspapers carried the news about Falun Gong’s free exercise practice sites n Sardinia and the on-going persecution in China.

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