On the evening of February 16, nearly 400 people cheerfully gathered at the "Bright Pearl Restaurant" at Center Chinatown in the beautiful city of Toronto. They came to attend the "Friends of Falun Gong" kick-off banquet in celebration of Chinese New Year. The "Friends of Falun Gong" is a non-profit association that is composed of over 80 different social groups. The attendants at this impressive gathering included government officials such as Members of Parliament (MP), Members of Provincial Parliament (MPP), City Councilors, Mayors and officials from the UN office in Canada, noted public figures such as lawyers, Chinese community leaders and university president, as well as religious people such as the clergy. They gave speeches at the banquet and expressed their concern about and condemnation of the Chinese government's brutal persecution of Falun Gong. Mr. Chen Yinting, the President of the Chinese General Association, also attended the banquet.

Many MPs, MPPs, and councilors at the banquet said that human rights should be protected throughout the whole world. It is the most basic right of every human being living in this world and everyone is endowed with it at birth. All of us have the responsibility to respect others' human rights and are also entitled to the right to safeguard our own human rights. Only when everyone in this world can enjoy such rights, can our world enjoy peace and happiness. These concepts are precisely why the various nationalities of Canada can live together harmoniously and become prosperous and powerful. As one member of this global village, Chinese people are entitled to the same rights, but what is happening to Falun Gong today in China proves that people in China have been deprived of their most basic rights as human beings. The people of the world should not be indifferent to this fact.

Many Chinese people with a sense of justice also went up on stage one after another to give their speeches. They appealed to all Chinese people to show our conscience and objectively look at the incident of Falun Gong and they said the most important thing was that no matter what kind of gains, power, or sentimentality that might tempt us, we should not betray our own conscience.

The attendants came from different races, cultural backgrounds, and spoke different languages, but everyone was linked together by one of the most cherished characters that the whole human race owns: kindness and justice.

During the banquet, Falun Gong practitioners organized wonderful and varied performances for all the guests in order to thank people from all circles of society for their help and support of Falun Gong. Falun Dafa practitioners were versatile, and talented at singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments. The performers included several very young children and artists over 60 years old, which fully demonstrated the variety of Falun Dafa practitioners. The guests highly praised the performance and were also happy and proud to have such friends.

The whole banquet played itself out in a peaceful and happy atmosphere. Most of the guests didn't leave until the banquet was over and they expressed their heartfelt congratulations on the success of the banquet.

Reported by Falun Dafa practitioners in Toronto

February 27th, 2001