United Kingdom: Practitioners Raise Awareness about Falun Gong on Lafrowda Day

On July 19th, Falun Gong practitioners held a stall in the west Cornish town of St. Just. Every July, the granite streets of St. Just are filled with colour and music on Lafrowda Day, a celebration of community arts in the area.

Practitioners set up a table and proceeded to demonstrate the peaceful exercises of Falun Gong. Locals happily took a free folded paper lotus flower, as well as leaflets about local exercise classes and the ongoing persecution in China. Many people stopped and watched a practitioner who was bathed in sunlight and demonstrating the gentle exercises. After learning what Falun Gong is, people found it hard to come to terms with the persecution in China. Several remarked, “Why do they ban such a peaceful practice which has nothing to do with politics?”

A talk organised by Amnesty International was held in a secondary school in the area earlier in the week, where the children had the chance to learn about the human rights abuses in China, including the persecution of Falun Gong. Some children from the school came over to sign the petition and get more information.

One man who passed by was a teacher in a neighbouring town. He remarked that he once showed his students, some whom are Chinese boarding at the independent school, a web search of Falun Gong on the internet to illustrate internet censorship. The Chinese pupils saw the websites showing that Falun Gong is a peaceful practice, and were astonished - they did not even realise that the Internet they used had filtered out this information. He went on to say, “All of the parents of the Chinese students are
government officials or have connections to the government in China, otherwise they would not be able to afford to come here.”

The stall was warmly received by locals in the remote village, as well as by tourists in the area. A local radio reporter saw the stall, and wanted to interview practitioners about the practice and persecution in the near future to help raise awareness and reach more people. A lady organising a different event in Cornwall approached with a booking form in hand as she wished to let practitioners have a stall for free at the event. One man who was on holiday in Cornwall came over and instantly signed the petition saying, “I used to do a lot of coverage of this when I worked for the BBC”

A practitioner who was at the stall said, “I was touched by the peoples’ pure hearts. Whoever listened to our explanation about what is going on in China all signed the petition and expressed their great concern. They are such good people here.” The word “Lafrowda” is derived from the old Cornish name for St. Just, meaning sacred enclosure.

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