Italy: Rome Officials Do Not Bow to Pressure from the Chinese Embassy

Between the 10th and 17th of July 2005, a series of important cultural activities were held in Rome’s famous University of La Sapienza. Falun Gong practitioners from Italy and Germany joined the activity by invitation. This cultural activity covered various performances such as sports, arts, general science and human rights issues. Many organisations, including Amnesty International, were invited and joined the activity.

During the week-long activity, the host prepared a fixed stand for Falun Gong practitioners. Videos were screened showing a demonstration of the five sets of Falun Gong exercises by the practice’s founder Mr Li Hongzhi. Other Falun Gong materials were also available. Also displayed on the stand was a banner reading “Falun Dafa is Good” and photos exposing the brutal persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist regime. The combination was very effective in helping visitors to learn about both the beauty of Falun Gong and the brutality of the persecution against practitioners in China. The practitioners in Italy also prepared other information and posters along the walkway just opposite the stand. Many visitors were shocked and signed the petition to condemn the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese Communist regime.

According to the arrangement by the organiser, practitioners demonstrated the Falun Gong exercises twice in front of the University’s main building. In three evenings, practitioners played the exercise video through a big TV screen in the square at the Physics building, also displaying materials exposing the brutal persecution of Falun Gong in China.

Many visitors were youngsters. Some were the students studying oriental literature. At the beginning they seemed to have difficulty in understanding the persecution. In their studies, they used textbooks produced by the Chinese Communists and therefore were confused. They’d never had the opportunity to learn the facts about Falun Gong. After practitioners explained to them the evil nature of the Chinese Communists, they were very shocked. Nobody had told them before the real situations occurring in China under the Communists’ control and how so many people have been killed in their reign, including several thousand Falun Gong practitioners. After learning the truth, these students all happily signed the petition to show their support for Falun Gong and to condemn the persecution.
Last Saturday evening, a very popular local TV station set up a moving interview vehicle. They interviewed Falun Gong practitioners, who took the opportunity to tell the viewers about Falun Gong and the unexposed violence committed by the Chinese Communist regime.

We learned that the Chinese Ambassador in Rome exerted pressure on the mayor of Rome and the principal of the university, trying to force them not to let practitioners join the activity. However, they did not bow to the pressure and still supported the involvement of the Italian Falun Gong Association. For this, we sincerely thank the mayor of Rome, the principal of the University as well as the organisers. We are very pleased to see that in the face of pressure from the Chinese Communist regime, they showed wisdom and respect to the principles of democracy and freedom. Their honourable and moral behaviour will surely win them respect from people.

The Italian Falun Gong Association donated the Italian editions of introductory text Falun Gong and the main text of Falun Gong practice Zhuan Falun to the library at the Department of Oriental Languages of the Rome University. They also donated the UN’s human rights report and the book Witness detailing the human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners in China.

The Roman provincial government, Roman city government and Rome University jointly hosted this activity. The Italian Falun Gong Association also received a “thank you” letter personally signed by the principal of the university.

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