On the afternoon of December 16, Chicago Chinese Haihua Association and Central American New Culture Center cosponsored a Falun Gong Incident Forum in Chicago Chinatown. The forum was co-hosted by Mr. Zhang Zhengrong, the president of the Haihua Association and CEO of the Central US Chinese News, and Mr. Jared May, Advisor of the New Culture Center. Many leaders of the local Chinese community and Falun Gong practitioners, including Mr. John Nania who was among the 36 western practitioners who appealed in Tiananmen Square, attended the discussion forum.

Mr. Zhang Zhengrong emphasized in the opening remarks that this forum was open to society and everyone had the right to speak out; everyone has the right of freedom of speech. It was the goal of the forum that through the constructive discussion the truth would come out. As the owner of the biggest Chinese media in Chicago area, Mr. Zhang especially emphasized that news media should seek the truth, sustain social moral values and uphold justice. He also talked about the recent Quebec Superior Court's decision that ordered the Montreal-based Chinese newspaper "Les Presses Chinoises" to stop anti-Falun Gong publications. He stressed that the incident happened in a country that uses law to govern the country and has freedom of speech and the court order demonstrated that defamation materials have no place in a society of justice.

The honored guests spoke during the forum one after another. They shared what they thought about Falun Gong incident. Many of them praised Falun Gong practitioners for their spirit to strive for the truth without fear of losing their lives. They condemned the cruelty that Jiang Zemin regime's has used against its people. Mr. Liao Zhonghe said that many people have suffered through the persecution under the ruling party but few people dare to stand up and tell the truth. Falun Gong practitioners are encouraging everyone to stand up for what is right by appealing to the society and telling the truth. It can be said that the existence of Falun Gong is absolutely beneficial to the Chinese people.

Someone said that through his observation, Falun Gong is a religion and since there are so many people participating in practice there must be an organization; even though it is wrong for the government to persecute Falun Gong and it is time for the government to stop; on the other hand Falun Gong should endure more and take the whole situation into account. The President of China Amnesty, Mr. Shen Mo, pointed out sharply that 550,000 people were deemed to be the rightists during the anti-rightist movement (1956 to 1958). 550,000 is not a small number. Did they have an organization? Falun Gong advocates personal moral cultivation, why are they not allowed to practice? If your wife and daughter were violated, did you want to forbear by keeping silent?

Several Falun Gong practitioners also asked to speak to the audience. They pointed out that Falun Gong practitioners clarify the truth to the public at risk of losing their work or school, being arrested, detained or losing lives. It is a demonstration of their true forbearance. Since April 25, 1999, when 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners appealed peacefully at Zhongnanhai, Falun Gong practitioners' requests have not changed: 1) Release the detained Falun Gong practitioners; 2) Allow the publishing of Falun Dafa books; 3) Allow Falun Gong practitioners to legally practice their beliefs; 4) Restore the reputation of Falun Gong and it's Teacher, Li Hongzhi. In the last 2 years, the government has resorted to all means to achieve its goal of persecuting Falun Gong and to defame its founder.

Mr. John Nania, one of the 36 western practitioners who went to Tiananmen to appeal, told the audience of his experience in Tiananmen Square and the reason he went to China. He emphasized that he is not against China, to the contrary through cultivating Falun Gong he understands more of China and loves the splendid Chinese culture. He felt it was unfair that Falun Gong as the essence of Chinese traditional culture was slandered and persecuted in China. He wanted to tell the Chinese people who are being deceived that Falun Dafa is good. Many people were deeply touched by Mr. Nania's story. One of the attendees pointed out that he admired these foreigners' courage, in the meantime he was saddened by the fact that the shameless persecution happened to Chinese people in China but it needs foreigners to stand up to condemn these criminal act. What kind of nation is China!

A practitioners testifies to the ordeals her family in China have suffered during the persecution Brief introduction of Falun Gong exercise and demonstration

President of China Amnesty Mr. Shen Mo speaks at the forum Western Practitioner, Mr. John Nania, explains his reason for going to Tiananmen Square to appeal to Chinese government.

The forum lasted for three hours. The participants explored the true aspects of the Falun Gong incident with reason and facts. Through this forum, we felt that more and more kind people are standing up to uphold justice. People's hearts yearn for benevolence. Now it is not only Falun Gong practitioners who are clarifying the truth to people, the kind people in the society are also joined in the process of clarifying the truth.