On May 13, 2012, Falun Gong practitioners from across the UK gathered at Trafalgar Square in downtown London to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Falun Dafa’s public introduction and wish Mr. Li Hongzhi a happy birthday.
It was a sunny day. The celebration caught the attention of numerous tourists on the square. Many took out their cameras to capture Falun Gong practitioners’ exercise demonstrations. A lot of people also asked the location of practice sites, saying they wanted to learn the practice. Several hundred signed the petition calling for an end to the persecution. A few dozen Chinese denounced the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations.
|Demonstrating the Falun Gong exercises in Trafalgar Square|
Toby Andrew, a student in the photography department of the University of the Arts London, took pictures of Falun Gong practitioners’ exercise demonstrations. He said that he came specifically to learn about Falun Gong. He said, "On May 12 I happened to pass by the Chinese Embassy, where I met a Falun Gong practitioner. She gave me a brief introduction to Falun Gong. I decided then to make it one of the topics for my study."
It was the first time that Toby had ever heard of Falun Gong. The persecution shocked him and he was sympathetic. Having signed the petition form, he hoped that more people would find out about it (the persecution). He said he would have to learn more at Falun Gong’s website.
A well-dressed middle-aged couple stood for a long time before the practitioners. The man told his wife at length about the Falun Gong situation. As it turned out, he was very interested in the topic. Having heard of practitioners exposing the CCP’s atrocity of organ harvesting from living practitioners, the man said, “The CCP fears Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. The CCP is the same as the Communist Party of the former Soviet Union, which also detained and persecuted people of different faiths. This kind of thing is horrible.” Not only did he sign the petition to end the persecution, he also took the English version of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, saying that he would study it carefully.
|Passers by talked to practitioners to find out more|
|Hundreds of petition signatures were collected calling for the UK Prime Minister to tell the Chinese Communist Party to stop persecuting Falun Gong|
In the crowd, a grandmother watched the exercise demonstration attentively with her nine-year-old granddaughter. After practitioners told her about Falun Gong, she patiently explained to her granddaughter what Falun Gong is and about the persecution in China. She told her granddaughter, "There, the CCP does not allow people to have their own beliefs. These people are persecuted because they believe in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance." Having signed the petition, the grandmother said to practitioners, “We should let children who grew up here know what is happening outside (in China).”
An elderly couple signed the petition form. The gentleman said that he worked near the Chinese Embassy and often saw Falun Gong practitioners peacefully protesting there. He hoped that the practitioners would continue. It was a good way to let people know the truth.
Several dozen Chinese people quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations at the event. Among them were those who had lived in England for many years, as well as those who came from China only recently to study. A young lady with a two-year-old child, who had immigrated to the UK four years ago, took Falun Gong leaflets and materials. She told the practitioners that she had not been convinced by the CCP’s propaganda slandering Falun Gong, even when she was in China. She said she would check out the website. When practitioners told her that hundreds of millions of Chinese people had quit the CCP, she also agreed to quit. She also said she would fight for herself and fight for her children instead of fighting for the CCP.
The event lasted from about 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Before the event finished, Falun Gong practitioners gathered under the banner worded "Celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of Falun Dafa’s Public Introduction" to wish Master Li a very happy birthday.