Every year during the Easter Holiday, the ancient Scottish city of Edinburgh attracts many tourists from around the world. The city council uses this opportunity to host various cultural activities to entertain the visitors, with the Easter Parade being the most eye-catching one since its inception two years ago. By invitation, Falun Gong has participated in the parade both years.
Collecting signatures to rescue family members
Many Falun Gong practitioners from around the UK went to Edinburgh the day before the parade to prepare. They went to the city centre to demonstrate the five sets of Falun Gong exercises to the tourists. They also collected petition signatures to call for the rescue their family members who are persecuted in China because of their belief in “Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance”.
During the activity, many students and tourists from China stopped to watch. One student from China said to practitioners: “In China the mentioning of “Falun Gong” is not allowed, but in our hearts we know the truth, we support you whole-heartedly. You are truly remarkable.” Another Chinese person who works in the UK said, “Some of my colleagues and relatives practise Falun Gong. Although I don’t have clear knowledge about Falun Gong, I think Falun Gong practitioners should be respected as everyone else is.” In a few hours, although it was raining, over three hundred people signed our petition.
Thousands of people watched the Easter Parade
On March 27th the rainy weather did not seem to affect people’s interest in the Parade. According to a report by Edinburgh’s largest local newspaper, over 4,000 people participated in the parade. The gathered crowd numbered over 35,000. The newspaper also had a photo report entitled “The dancing team of Falun Gong” in its prime position, because Falun Gong is the only team in the parade representing traditional Chinese culture.
Led by large banners inscribed “Falun Gong”, “The World Needs Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance” and “Falun Gong is spread in over sixty Countries”, fourteen Female Falun Gong practitioners, wearing traditional Chinese clothes, performed a ribbon dance. Following them was a waist-drum group performed by twenty male practitioners. Along the way, practitioners also gave out Falun Gong leaflets and home-made paper lotus flowers.
When the Falun Gong team passed the VIP stand, the host introduced the team through loudspeakers: “Falun Gong is an ancient cultivation method following the principles of “truthfulness, compassion and forbearance”. It originated from China and is now practised in over sixty countries in the world. Falun Gong is a very peaceful group; they are showing us traditional Chinese dancing and waist-drumming.” When the audience saw the ribbon dancing, they all applauded loudly.
After the parade, Falun Gong practitioners organised a painting exhibition and demonstrated the five sets of exercises in the park where it was crowded with visitors. The demonstration attracted many visitors and a UK TV station filmed the scene.
A story behind the story
In order to let visitors from around the world learn the facts about Falun Gong in the Easter holiday, UK practitioners all used their own time and money to go to Edinburgh. Some practitioners drove for a whole night and stayed in an Edinburgh youth hostel. At the end of the activity, a local practitioner went to the hostel to give the staff Easter eggs and a Thank-You card. The hostel management was very moved and said, “Falun Gong practitioners are all very kind and are welcome to come again.”
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