New Zealand Dafa Practitioners Deter Interference and Participate in Christmas Parade
With the encouragement of Auckland practitioners, who had prepared a large float and successfully participated in Christmas parades in various places, Hamilton practitioners also actively applied for participation in the local Christmas parade. We obtained a permit one week before the parade, though the application deadline had passed much earlier.
After we had gotten everything ready, an official from the parade organization unexpectedly called us 36 hours before the parade and informed us that we could not participate. A western practitioner and I called her immediately and kindly clarified the truth to her for nearly two hours. We learned that she was under strong pressure, though she was reluctant to tell us the source. She insisted on our withdrawing from the parade.
I was determined to deny the arrangement of the evil forces to prevent people from learning the truth, so we took action. It was already 7:30 p.m. on Friday, and it was difficult to find those senators with whom we were familiar. We tried all the numbers and failed to reach them. Later we were successful in reaching the mayor. Though he had supported us in the past, the newly elected mayor seemed reluctant to extend his support at this time. We said, "We are not interested in politics, but there are severe human rights violations in China. We are in New Zealand, and for several years we have served the community. We only hope that people can show their concern and support to the practitioners in China. The mistakes occurring in China should not be extended to New Zealand." He said that he could not promise anything, but he would check. Nearly an hour later, the official from the parade organization called us and said that they had reached an agreement with the mayor, "You have only two choices, withdraw or participate without your group's name." We said that the decision was unreasonable and wrong.
Later, the parade was postponed for one week due to rain. In the morning of the following Monday, a reporter from the local newspaper, Waikato Times, called me, expressing his wish to help through interviewing us and reporting how we had received unreasonable treatment. Thus within a week, the newspaper ran reports about us twice on the front page. The reports also disclosed that city officials received strong interference from Jiang Zemin's regime, and some of the officials had withdrawn their support from Falun Dafa in consideration of their own interests. The practitioners' experiences and introduction of the five sets of exercise were also reported. The two reports rapidly and strongly exposed the evil and had an extensive, positive impact among the local residents.
During the parade, even though there were unreasonable restrictions, the local people saw our beautiful float with banners reading "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" and spoke out loudly while applauding, "Falun Gong," "Falun Dafa," "I support you," "You are doing well," and "Wonderful!" At the same time, some practitioners saw a big Falun appear and rotate around the sun.
The two-hour parade went by quickly. Looking back on the last three weeks, I couldn't help but smile. Our benevolent Teacher gave us the chance to improve. As a result we got the best and most comprehensive results in Hamilton to clarify the truth of Dafa and expose the evil.