Global SOS Walk: Report of the Amsterdam to Brussels Stage

This section of the global SOS walk, to rescue the persecuted Falun Gong practitioners in China, was arranged to take place between the 8th and 17th October. In total there were 4 walkers. 2 of these, Deng Qing (The Netherlands) and Brian Trought (Ireland) walked the complete journey. Two others, Wang XiangHe (The Netherlands) and David Ahern (Ireland) walked from Amsterdam to Rotterdam and from Rotterdam to Brussels respectively.

The activities began in Amsterdam, Holland on 8th October, which gave us an immediate chance to clarify the truth to people, including many Chinese. Also, we let people know about the walk, and they offered support. These activities were recorded by a photographer/reporter. She took many pictures, and practitioners let her know the truth of the persecution in detail.

That afternoon, six practitioners began the walk. A phone call was received from another photographer. He asked whether it was possible to walk with us and take pictures. He accompanied us for over 3 hours taking tens of photographs. Again, practitioners clarified the truth to him in detail. An Irish practitioner also had an interview over the phone at the same time as we walked.

We received many acknowledgements from passers by. The banner that we were holding read :
innocent Falun Gong practitioners
in China”

It seemed many passersby acknowledged us because they saw the words “STOP KILLING”.

On the 2nd day, we reached Utrecht in Holland. On our way to the mayor’s office, we met a photographer. He also took pictures of us, and we let him know about the persecution and gave him some materials. We arrived at the mayor’s office just in time to meet with his secretary. We presented our letter, some information and also the books of “Falun Gong” and “Zhuan Falun” for the mayor. She expressed her support.

Later that night, we made 2 boards, which told the aim of our walk, one in English and one in Dutch. We later made another in French.

Because of this, our purpose was clearer to passing cars, people etc. We made the best use of these as we could turn them so that nearly every passerby saw them. This led to two interviews with newspaper reporters on the third day, and many more people expressing their support. We were also interviewed by a reporter who works for an internet paper.

On one occasion, a man on a bicycle took one of our flyers. Later while we were sitting down to rest, the man came back with some food and drink. We told him about the persecution, and he expressed his support.

During this time many leaflets were handed out. Also, people were touched by the spirit and determination of the walkers. Towards the end of the first week, we attended group activities in Rotterdam [Holland]. We participated in the group exercise practice and also held an interview with a reporter. Three practitioners talked to him in detail. We told him about Falun Dafa, the persecution and about the strength practitioners have by living according to Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

After the group practice, we began to walk at night, starting from The Hague [Holland]. However, after more than 6 hours, we had moved 9km outside of The Hague. We had walked in a circle for over 4 hours! As we were approaching a nearby train station, we met 3 college students. They ran up to us, asking what we were doing. We told them what Falun Gong is, and let them know about the persecution. One of them said, “I respect you very much…” several times. The reason why we had lost our way was apparent.

The following day, we met several teenagers. Again we clarified the truth of Falun Gong and the persecution in China. They expressed sympathy and support, and gladly signed our letters calling for the release of Zhao Ming, the Trinity College student illegally held and tortured in China. We also approached a radio station in Rotterdam, who promised to report our walk on the news the following day.

During our trip from Breda in Holland to Antwerp in Belgium, we met another journalist who also recorded our journey. We also had several chances to tell the police of our walk. We used every situation to tell people what we were doing. Once we walked in the highway, because we thought this way was the shortest one. After a short time, a police car stopped beside us. The policemen told us, according to the rule, walking in the highway should incur a fine. However, as the reason for our walk was good, they decided not to fine us. It was their “donation” to Falun Gong. One of the practitioners immediately realised that “there is no shortcut in cultivation way”.

In Antwerp, we again met with media, and with an assistant to the mayor. While we were walking through the city centre, a lot of people looked at us with interest. It seemed that they were waiting for us. Flyers were handed out quickly.

Because the pace we walked at was particularly slow, we were behind schedule for most of the walk. However, this gave us a chance to hand out more flyers, and also talk to more people.

In Brussels, we met practitioners from the United States who were doing the global SOS walk. After hearing some of their plans, we realised how much extra planning we needed to have done. From exchanging experiences amongst the walkers and practitioners in different countries, we were greatly aware of areas in which we needed to improve and we also felt that we could make greater effort.

Finally, the day we arrived in Brussels, Belgium the beautiful Falun Gong music of “Pudu Jishi” could be heard.

Reported by European practitioners
23rd October 2001

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