(Clearwisdom.net) At noon on September 23, 2002, a one-week "Returning to Truth-Compassion-Forbearance" photo exhibition with the theme of "providing cultural education to the community" began at the Independence Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Thirty-one specially selected colorful photos and detailed commentary described Falun Gong's rapid spread in China, the brutal persecution that began three years ago, and Falun Dafa's wide spread around the world, as well as touching stories of several families who cultivate Falun Dafa. The exhibition also displayed pictures demonstrating Philadelphia practitioners participation in community activities, spreading Falun Dafa and clarifying the truth to the local people. It also displayed photos of awards and support Falun Gong practitioners have received from Pennsylvania's Governor and the Mayor of Philadelphia.

Visitors look at photosPan-Asia TV Broadcasting Station Reporter Ms. Kezemu interviews the library manager Mr. Hilton and manager of the Independence Branch, Ms.Zhang

The Independence Branch is located near Chinatown, and provides the largest collection of Chinese books in Philadelphia, so it attracts many local Chinese people. Several months ago, a Falun Gong practitioner found a job in this branch. She worked hard and helped tidy up library books in her spare time. Her commitment to her job and her uprightness moved manager Ms. Zhang and touched many who came to read. Ms. Zhang's attitude toward Falun Dafa also changed from disbelief to taking the initiative to buy Falun Dafa books for all library branches, to wholeheartedly supporting the exhibition. She published the information about the exhibition on the website of the library and arranged various activities to attract more visitors.

Taking the opportunity of the exhibition, practitioners actively contacted the Chinese community, visited many business organizations and associations to send invitations, and explained the facts about Falun Dafa to them face-to-face. At the same time, they mailed Dafa truth-clarifying materials and invitations to all Chinese communities in the Philadelphia area.

At the opening ceremony, Mr. Joseph Hilton, general manager of the Free Library of Philadelphia attended in person. At the beginning, he did not quite understand Falun Gong, and considered it having something to do with politics and religion. He also did not agree to approve of our holding the photo exhibition at this time. However, after he looked through all the displayed photos and shared and exchanged opinions and understanding with Falun Gong practitioners, he witnessed the peacefulness of Falun Gong practitioners and their courage to make sacrifices for the sake of the truth. He initiatively requested to give a speech at the opening ceremony, and said that he was glad that he had offered the meeting room to provide more people with an opportunity to get to know Falun Gong.

Ms. Zhang expressed at the opening ceremony that she felt honoured to have Falun Gong practitioners come to the library to hold the photo exhibition. She told the practitioners who co-ordinated the exhibition, "You truly use your heart to do it, but ask for nothing in return. I have thought that Aunty (Note: refers to the practitioner who works in the library) is a good example, now I feel every Falun Gong practitioner deserves respect and admiration."

The President of "Friends of Falun Gong," a non-profit organization in the U.S. sent a congratulatory message to wish the photo exhibition a great success, and hoped that through the exhibition, more people would come to know about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. He hoped that the international community would strive hard together with us to stop this persecution.

On the first day of the exhibition, both Westerners and Chinese were among the visitors. They all quietly looked at the photos, while occasionally asking for more information from Falun Gong practitioners. Some also asked for the addresses of practice sites.

When one Falun Gong practitioner was asked why we were holding this exhibition, she said, "Falun Gong suffers brutal persecution in China. We are now seeking various ways to let people know the truth, and together we will stop it." When she was asked why as an American, she cared so much for what is happening in China, she said that this is not a matter of a certain country, but the persecution against 'Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.' Every one should stand up to stop it. We should not tolerate any dictator in the world persecuting innocent people. This practitioner has cultivated Falun Gong for almost four years. She used to be afflicted by a severe condition in her lower back, but it disappeared after the cultivation of Falun Gong. She also focuses her attention on the principles of Falun Gong, and she has been striving to uplift her spiritual realm.

A middle-aged Chinese man who just came to America from Henan Province of China looked at the photos attentively and said he was aware of the persecution in Henan Province. An American lady said that she had been searching for an ancient cultivation way; now she realizes that Falun Gong is harmonious, and she is quite interested. Another American man said that he believed that the mind and the body are unified, and he wanted to practice Falun Gong to upgrade his spiritual realm and live a better life.

Pan-Asian Broadcasting Station reporter Ms. Kezemu came especially to interview us. She received a flyer about Falun Gong one year ago in Chinatown. When her understanding of Falun Gong deepened, she saw that Falun Gong is peaceful and harmonious, but she couldn't understand why the Jiang regime had vigorously supported Falun Gong for seven years, and later suddenly persecuted it. She felt the persecution is a violation of freedom, religion and human rights. She felt sad about it, so she wanted to introduce the goodness of Falun Gong to more people.

At the opening ceremony, a three-member family of Falun Gong practitioners and musicians performed the Dafa music "Pudu," to the audience and their own composition, "Ode to Lotus Flowers" that is dedicated to those Dafa disciples in China who risk their lives to peacefully appeal for Falun Gong in the face of brutal persecution. The practitioners also demonstrated the exercises for the audience.

Practitioners perform "Pudu,"and "Ode to Lotus Flowers"Practitioners demonstrating the exercise