Australia: Falun Gong Practitioners Join the Chinese New Year Parade in Sydney for the First Time

The annual Chinese New Year's Parade in Sydney was held successfully amid the happy sounds of drums, applause and laughter. At the end of this year's parade was the colourful Falun Gong procession, with practitioners dressed in golden exercise suits and beautiful Tang Dynasty costumes.

Falun Gong practitioners participated in the Chinese New Year Parade for the first time. Falun Gong practitioners give a dance performance in Tang Dynasty costumes.

It was the first time that Falun Gong practitioners took part in the Chinese New Year's Parade since Jiang Zemin's regime started the persecution of Falun Gong in China. The annual Chinese New Year's parade is organised by the city of Sydney. The parade committee is composed of Chinese community leaders and city employees. Having been influenced by the deceit of the Chinese Communist Party's anti-Falun Gong propaganda, and for fear of economic reprisal from China, for the past five years, the parade committee has turned down Falun Gong's application for participation. No explanation was given. But this year, the committee explained their reasons for the previous permit denials. 1) The committee was told that if they didn't turn down Falun Gong's application, the committee members wouldn't be able to get visas to China; 2) If Falun Gong was allowed to participate, an organising committee from China would stop working on the art performance for this parade, and therefore the New Year's Parade wouldn't happen; and 3) They were told that Falun Gong had to address the problem of the application denial with the Chinese authorities instead of the parade committee.

With the issue of participation still unresolved over the past year, Falun Gong practitioners continued to communicate with the police department and in the meantime, prepared for the parade. They arrived at the parade start location well before the other groups did. Large Falun Dafa banners in Chinese and English, the waist-drum team, dancers in Tang Dynasty costumes and fairy costumes shone brilliantly in the sun. Practitioners not in costume also went and stood quietly next to those in costume. Even though the Falun Gong practitioners were blocked from the parade behind street barricades, they still waited peacefully. The parade started. The groups stepped off and started moving farther and farther away from the blocked practitioners. Ten meters, twenty meters... Facing the practitioners in their bright festival costumes and smiles, the guards at the barricades could not bring themselves keep the barricade rails. A huge wave of applause arose. The drum playing started with a loud sound of the gong. The street barricades were removed. Falun Gong joined the parade as the last group, but was the most magnificent of the procession.

Recent media reports about Falun Gong being denied participation in the parade caught the attention of many Australians. The people of Australia are impressed with Falun Gong's "Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance." To our great happiness, crowds of people stopped by the Falun Gong booth in Chinatown after the parade.

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