Germany: Information Day and Candlelight Vigil in the City of Regensburg

By German practitioners

German Falun Gong practitioners remembered all the persecuted and tortured practitioners in China with a special event on June 26, 2002. We utilized “International Day for Support of Victims of Torture” to inform the citizens of Regensburg of the plight of the practitioners in China.

Our information booth in the pedestrian zone was open throughout the day. During the evening, we sponsored a candlelight vigil at the biggest square in Regensburg’s Old Town. The information booth location assigned to us was in a relatively quiet spot, but that Wednesday morning many people came to this area of town, a favourite spot for many of the surrounding workers to spend their lunch hour

We had made a banner that read: “June 26, International Day against Torture – in Memory of 1,600 Falun Gong practitioners in China who have died from torture”. Next to it we displayed two sandwich boards with photographs of the torture victims. Some practitioners demonstrated the exercises, accompanied by Pudu music. The atmosphere was serene but sobering.

Many people accepted our handouts and looked at the photographs, often for a long time. A class of school children arrived and sat in an outdoor café across the street from us. Again and again several children approached us and looked at the photographs, observed the demonstration of the exercises and asked what the photos mean that show group practice in China prior to the ban on Falun Gong. They returned repeatedly and always found new things to ask about and look at.

Several passers-by expressed their support. One woman encouraged us to continue with our efforts, because she thought it important to inform the public. Some signed the petition list. One passer-by with his young daughter riding on his shoulders was especially interested and wanted to know details about the persecution and what Falun Gong is all about. I told him that it is a Chinese qigong, based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. As soon as he had heard these words he said, “that’s why the Chinese government persecutes it!” and had thereby answered his own and many people’s most often asked question. He added that he regrets that economic consideration takes priority over human rights issues. He said he knew this because he works in the electronics industry.

Another man was so taken with the photos of the torture death victims that he immediately reached for some Falun Gong newspapers and distributed them to passers-by. Later on he returned and spent some time at our booth. He even offered to donate money. We thanked him but declined. He constantly wanted to help us reveal the truth about Jiang Zemin’s persecution. Later on he brought us a huge box of treats from a local ice cream parlor.

A woman approached us directly and said, “Are you a sect?” A practitioner answered her by saying, “No, Falun Gong is a cultivation school. One cultivates one’s body and mind.” She responded, “I see!” She and her companion walked on and we could hear her saying: “Did you hear? They are not a sect!” I was happy for this woman with her openness and courage. It also showed me that people are becoming more and more conscious of the lies and accusations dished out by the Chinese government and no longer give them credence.

Supported by some practitioners from Munich we held our candlelight vigil during the evening. The local newspaper had published an announcement to that effect which read, “The Regensburg Falun Gong group is sponsoring a sit-in candlelight vigil today at Neupfarrplatz (name of a location) for the 1,600 peaceful Falun Gong followers in China who have been tortured to death for practicing their belief system.” (Middle-Bavarian News, June 26, 2002).

(Original text in German)


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