On Saturday the 13th and Sunday the 14th of November 20004, Falun Dafa practitioners from England and Scotland gathered in Newcastle and Sunderland to inform people about the persecution of Falun Dafa in China and to help them find out more about the practice.
|Many people came to find out more|
In recent months, practitioners have found that a poignant and powerful way to expose the brutality of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin’s regime against practitioners who live by the virtues of Truthfulness – Compassion – Tolerance, has been to hold anti-torture exhibitions in various cities in the UK. Such was the case in Newcastle and Sunderland, evoking great sympathy from the public for the sufferers of the brutal and depraved actions that are being used in attempts to force Falun Gong practitioners to renounce their beliefs. By reconstructing the torture and using descriptions in a series of posters, a gruesome picture emerges of the scale of the inhumanity of this persecution.
|Falun Gong exercise demonstration|
Set beside this, some practitioners performed the graceful and serene Falun Gong exercises, whilst others talked to passers-by and collected signatures on two petitions: one was to rescue Falun Gong practitioners incarcerated in Chinese prisons and labour camps, whilst the other called for the chief perpetrator of the persecution, Jiang Zemin, to be brought to justice. On July the 20th 1999, Jiang Zemin launched the large scale persecution of Falun Gong, which was practiced by 100 million people in China at that time. By exploiting the state organizations, laws and policies, and the whole state apparatus, Jiang has committed crimes against millions of innocent people who believe in truth, compassion, and tolerance, both inside and outside China. According to Article 6 and Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court published on July the 17th 1998 by the United Nations, Jiang's persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in the past four years has amounted to genocide and crimes against humanity.
Over the two days nearly 800 signatures were collected from warm-hearted people. Most people, both Chinese and Western happily took leaflets and newspapers detailing the persecution. There was a most encouraging response on both days.
Stories from Newcastle
When some Newcastle residents asked if this activity would help those in China, one practitioner explained that the slander that has been spread by Jiang’s tight control of China’s state-run media had poisoned people against Falun Gong, so this activity was a way to redress the balance so that more people would find out the truth and tell their friends. This person then wanted to sign the petition.
One practitioner spoke to two elderly ladies. She told them the story of her colleague in China who was arrested because they practise Falun Gong, leaving behind her seven year-old daughter at home. Both of the ladies cried. One mother explained the persecution to her children as she read the posters.
When a young Chinese person was offered some information about the persecution, she said that many Chinese already know the truth. One Newcastle man said he knew a policeman in China who had told him some negative things about Falun Gong, but after talking to a Falun Gong practitioner he now knew that it wasn’t true because practitioners follow Truthfulness – Compassion – Tolerance. As the day continued people were queuing up to sign the petitions.
Stories from Sunderland
As it was a Sunday the streets were not as busy as Newcastle had been the day before, yet as we were setting up the exhibits someone already asked if he could sign the petition. One lady who signed the petition said, “You will win. The human spirit cannot be suppressed.”
Most passers-by took leaflets and almost 400 hundred people signed the petitions. Many children took leaflets and newspapers to pass onto their teachers. They were concerned that it was uncomfortable for the person sitting motionless in a small cage for such a long time, acting one of the tortures. This practitioner courageously sat there for four hours, bent over in a cramped position on a chilly November day. She knows that people who practise Falun Gong in China have suffered this type of torture and much worse for months on end, and that people in the west must take action to expose these human rights abuses and bring them to an end. A photographer from the Sunderland Echo took some dramatic photos of her backed by a banner displaying Jiang's atrocities.
|Photograph for the Sunderland Echo|
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