Chinese tourists witnessed the diversity of Falun Gong practitioners on October 3 and 4, 2014, when practitioners from over 30 European countries held a rally and march in Madrid.
After talking to practitioners at the event, many tourists discovered that they had been misled by the Chinese regime's propaganda while in their home country, where Falun Gong is brutally persecuted. Overseas, however, tourists can escape the Party's censorship and speak to practitioners openly.
A number of tourists chose to withdraw their membership in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations. Some showed understanding and publicly voiced support for Falun Gong.
|A Chinese spectator recording the march||A Chinese spectator reads Falun Gong flyers|
As the march proceeded between landmarks in Madrid, many Chinese tourists took pictures. Some followed the march for a great distance. Practitioners noticed that their expressions showed less hostility than in past years; replacing hatred were curiosity, pleasant surprise, pondering, and friendliness.
Chinese Tourists Shocked
Two Chinese tourists chatted with each other as the march passed by. Seeing the various banners representing Falun Gong in different countries, they were shocked.
A practitioner told them, “Yes, people in over 100 countries benefit from practicing Falun Gong. This march includes practitioners from over 30 European countries.”
This was the first time the young couple had seen Falun Gong practitioners from different countries and ethnicities. They remarked that it was eye-opening and that they would stay to watch the entire march.
|Falun Gong practitioners converse with Chinese tourists near the “Gate of the Sun” (Puerta del Sol) during the rally|
Another couple watched the practitioners for a long time as they lined up at the end of the rally near the “Gate of the Sun” Square and lined up to begin the march. They said that the scene gave them a slight shock. A practitioner explained to them, “This is because the CCP propaganda misinformed you in the past.” They agreed.
The man decided to withdraw his membership in Communist Party organizations, and the woman said that she understood what was happening to Falun Gong in China.
Ms. Zhou from the United Kingdom came across a tourist group from Beijing before the march. Several of them were curious about the event. Ms. Zhou told them, “Falun Gong practitioners from different countries in Europe are having our annual event here. We will have a conference tomorrow.”
A tourist responded warmly, “Nice! It looks like you are really from all over the world!” As Ms. Zhou waved goodbye with a smile, the man shouted, “I wish your conference a great success!”
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