The Netherlands: Reaching People in the Southern Province of Limburg

The Province of Limburg is to the South of The Netherlands. It shares borders with the Province of Limburg in Belgium and the Province of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. Practitioners from this region usually coordinate together to organize activities to expose the atrocities and crimes by the Chinese Communist Party against Falun Gong practitioners in China and most recently the pre-Olympic mass arrest of practitioners. Practitioners from other regions usually participate as well. This time two cities, Heerlen and Hoensbroek in The Netherlands, granted Falun Gong practitioners participation in two important events.

Heerlen: On Saturday April 19th, 2008, the Municipality of the City of Heerlen, organised the Annual Market which is visited not only by Dutch people but by Germans as well. The Falun Gong stand was ideally located between the national famous art gallery ‘The Glass Palais’ and Saint Pancratius Church. On the three sides of the stand exposed to the public, practitioners displayed Falun Gong banners so that people could see them from afar.

The stand had a number of magazines, pictures, and other material on display. Some practitioners dressed in the yellow outfit and showed the exercises to the public, at that moment the public would received a flyer. Others would show people how to make lotus flowers which was an activity that attracted lots of people and gave the opportunity to clarify the truth face to face. One practitioner had made a few hundred of beautiful lotus flowers and stood quietly at a corner of the stand with a bunch of flowers hanging from her hands. People would look at her and attracted by the flower they would approach her and ask how much a flower cost. She would answer that it was for free and that she herself had happily done it for them, at that moment people would receive a flower with a Falun Gong card hanging from it and a flyer. Before the end of the day all the flowers she had made were gone. Besides all that, other practitioners would inflate balloons to which children and their parents were attracted, they all walked away with a balloon and a flyer each.

Hoensbroek: Town officials organised on the 1st of May, the so called ‘Braderie’, a kind of fair, market, festival all combined. It is one of the most visited events in Limburg. Hundred of thousands of people of all ages and walks of life enjoyed the lively stands and music bands all day long.

As in Heerlen, the Falun Gong booth was again ideally located in a corner next to a nice little park and the small Saint Jans Church. Practitioners showed the exercises on the park, organised a small photo exhibition, taught people how to fold lotus flowers and distributed balloons thus creating opportunities to validate and clarify the truth about Falun Gong.

The Falun Dafa booth was crowded Signing the petition calling for an end to the persecution Teaching children to fold paper lotus flowers

At the table where people were folding lotus flowers, a little girl about nine year old after listening to the story about the persecution, said that she could not understand why such a thing was happening. “Why our government did not do something about it? They killed those people for engaging in tranquil meditation and these are all good people!” she said.

Another highlight of the day was the signing of the ‘2008 Millions of Signatures Petition’ organised by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG). In this petition the CIPFG appeals for the end of the persecution of Falun Gong, and the restoration of the human rights and dignity of practitioners in China before the opening of the 2008 Olympic Games.

Despite the difficulties that the enormous flow of people posed to individuals to be able to stop at the stand, hundreds of people still managed to approach the petition table and signed it. It is worthwhile noticing that youngsters, being aware of the disastrous situation of human rights in China, were readily inclined to sign, while older people needed a more thorough explanation of the truth, after that they would understandingly sign the petition. Practitioners would do their best to clarify the facts to people face to face with the sincere wish of giving them the opportunity to position themselves. In that way several dozens of pages of the petition were quickly filled during the hours that this event lasted.

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