Media Report from Sweden: Exercise Demonstration and Providing Information about the Persecution of Falun Gong Practitioners

Reported by Lina Rönnåsen for Hallandposten on August 11th, 2003

Chinese music was coming out from a speaker as four women sat on the ground with their eyes closed. At times, they changed their movements gracefully. On Saturday, a group of Falun Gong practitioners appeared at Storgatan to perform an exercise demonstration, and to distribute information about the persecution that they are suffering.

In front of McDonald’s were several information boards. Not far away, a banner was hung across two trees. People who went shopping on Saturday stopped to watch the sitting meditation, or to take the flyers distributed by practitioners Cecilia and Carl.

In Halmstad, there are no active Falun Gong practitioners. Therefore, the practitioners are from Stockholm, Varberg, Falkenberg and Norway. Cecilia said, “We would like people to pay attention to what is happening, and understand how serious it is. The more people who realise the facts, the earlier this persecution can be put to an end.”

Photo #1: A group of Falun Gong practitioners demonstrated the exercises on Saturday and gave out material about the persecution. A quarter of China’s state funds have been used to persecute Falun Gong practitioners. Since Falun Gong was banned in 1999, many practitioners were imprisoned or detained in labour camps in China. In the photo are Regine Müller, Terese Eriksen and Mimmi Svensson.

Established in 1992

The spread of Falun Gong around the world started in 1992, after being introduced by the founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi. The Chinese government once supported Falun Gong, due to the practice’s outstanding effectiveness in healing illnesses. However, when the number of Falun Gong practitioners exceeded seventy million, Jiang Zemin, the former Chinese President, banned it and started the persecution. Since 1999, many practitioners have been illegally imprisoned, tortured and persecuted to death. Many others were detained in labour camps, jails and psychiatric hospitals.

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Cultivating one’s nature

Falun Gong is Qigong. In addition to practising cultivation exercises, Falun Gong practitioners also have to understand the deeper meaning of life. This is called cultivating one’s character. Practitioners have to assimilate to the characteristics of Truthfulness, Benevolence and Forbearance.

Cecilia said, “We live in the same way as everyone else. However, we follow these principles in our daily life. The purpose of the exercises is to strengthen our physical body and obtain more energy.”

It is unknown how many Falun Gong practitioners live in Sweden, but Cecilia believes the amount is around five hundred. There is no name list. The only thing to do is to decide for yourself if you would like to practise Falun Gong. To start with, people can attend classes to learn the basics. Afterwards, they can practise either by themselves at home or with other practitioners.

More curiosity

Cecilia also said, “It was very difficult for us to clarify the truth to people at the very beginning. People just walked by. However, there are now far more people who know Falun Gong and show interest in it. It is no longer strange to think of giving it a try.”

Photo #2: Falun Gong is Qigong. In addition to practising exercises, practitioners have to forge and improve their character. This is called cultivation— assimilating themselves to Truthfulness, Benevolence and Forbearance in their daily life.

Agneta Eriksson, who is from Halmstad, came towards the practitioners, and asked for a flyer. She has learned another Qigong practice for ten years, and believes Qigong is a good complement to regular physical exercise. She said, “This is a great way to relax myself. After taking the exercises for half an hour, my spirit becomes very good. It feels like I have slept for an hour. This is really needed in life nowadays.”


Translated from Chinese at http://www.yuanming.net/articles/200308/23433.html

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