From April 19th to 25th 2007, Falun Gong practitioners in Cambridge, the United Kingdom, held an art exhibition comprising of work created by artists who are also Falun Gong practitioners. The exhibition is entitled the International ‘Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance’ Exhibition and was held in St Laurence’s Catholic Church. This event was fully supported by the church, politicians and artists. This is the fourth time this internationally renowned exhibition has been held in Cambridge.
In the opening ceremony in the afternoon of the 19th, the local political party leader, councilors, artists and residents came and gave speeches. Father David of St Laurence’s Catholic Church, the vice-leader of the Cambridge Conservatives, councilor Raj Shah and Cambridge resident John Hobson expressed their support for Falun Gong practitioners’ anti-persecution campaign.
Father David: Force cannot chain conscience and belief in freedom
Father David first welcomed Falun Gong practitioners and then he said, from history, how many times people have seen prison bars, physical beating, chains, but history of the world also shows no matter how much force is used to chain people’s body, it cannot chain people’s conscience and belief in freedom. Father David also said, it is important to raise public support for the people who are suffering. He hoped that the Parliament and MPs know about the persecution of Falun Gong and put pressure on the most oppressive government to stop it from doing this any more.
Vice-leader of Cambridge Conservatives: Falun Gong’s anti-persecution campaign benefits the world.
Vice-leader of Cambridge Conservatives Richard Normington said he came on behalf of the Conservative Association of the city of Cambridge and he was happy to support Falun Gong’s campaign because it was beneficial not just for Cambridge, England, but for the world itself. He said Conservatives support freedom of speech and conscience and their ambition was to see in China people being allowed to discuss, believe and express themselves freely.
Cambridge councilor Raj Shah (Lib-demo) said, it was not right that in this global economic development, people were persecuted for their right of basic belief. He also expressed his support for the volunteers who organised this event.
Representative of Cambridge residents: Falun Gong’s art will be respected by generations of people
Cambridge resident, retired army officer John Hobson said in his speech, much of the art surviving from Europe was Christian art, and soon people would find that Falun Gong’s artworks would leave a good name forever like the Christian art and would be respected by generations of people as they were witness to this part of history.
John Hobson said ‘The politics that persecute Falun Gong today will slowly be persuaded of the futility of its approach and will crumble. Goodness will always prevail.
‘The art, associated with the goodness and its journey through persecution will survive and not because oil on canvas is particularly durable but because the ideals and thoughts and spiritual philosophy that underpins each image is indestructible. The electric cattle prod cannot penetrate or steal the treasures enshrined in the cathedral of each mind.
‘So this is how, I believe, Falun Gong Art is already history. It is a record of part of Falun Gong’s journey through persecution. The portrayal of Falun Gong thinking and philosophy in visual form. Pictures which aspire to illustrate the gifts of Truth, Forbearance or Compassion. This art cannot be erased; it stands as timeless testimony to injustice.’
Cambridge resident: people in the free world should show their concern for Falun Gong
In the exhibition, Cambridge Falun Gong practitioners also showed some films about the persecution of Falun Gong by the Communist regime, Shake the World, Sandstorm and Plum Blossom in Snow and taught Falun Gong exercises to the people who were interested. Many local residents came to visit the exhibition, watched the films or learned the exercises and signed their name on the petition to stop the persecution of Falun Gong.
Cambridge resident David Laurie came to the exhibition three times and watched all the films. After the films, he said, it was hard to believe that in today’s world, any human being could do such cruel things to other human beings, and people in free world should show their concern over the persecution of spiritual groups like Falun Gong in China. He also said, in the past, people called China ‘Red China’, because of the communist regime there, but now most people had forgotten about this, which was not right. The ignorance of other people’s suffering was to acknowledge the persecution and he hoped that British government could help Falun Gong practitioners.
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