"Rescue Our Family Members and Bring Them Home" Press Conference and Large-Scale Parade During Philadelphia Experience Sharing Conference (Photos)
On December 1, 2002, over 1500 practitioners from around the world held a large-scale outdoor group practice at Thomas Paine Plaza near the City Hall in the center of Philadelphia. They had just attended the Eastern United States Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference in Philadelphia the day before. After the group practice, a press conference and a walk were held to call for the US government and people to extend their helping hands to rescue Falun Gong practitioners' family members who are being illegally detained and persecuted in China because of their belief in Falun Gong.
The press conference, with the theme of ""Rescue Our Family Members and Bring Them Home," started at 1:30 p.m. The conference was host by the US Friends of Falun Gong Association. Several dozen practitioners whose family members were arrested in China held their family members' photo while standing in the cold wind to raise awareness about the tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners who are being subjected to imprisonment, hard labor, torture and death because of their beliefs.
At the press conference, Dr. Yang Jingduan, who works at Thomas Jefferson Hospital and lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, told the attendees his sister's story in China. Chinese police secretly arrested Dr. Yang's sister, Yang Jingfang, last month and her whereabouts are unknown. On behalf of all practitioners whose family members are being persecuted in China, he asked the media and public to help "Rescue Our Family Members and Bring Them Home."
Yang discovered last month that his sister had been detained for a second time in four years. Several weeks ago Dr. Yang learned from a telephone call from Hefei City that his sister, Jingfang Yang, was secretly imprisoned in China because of her belief in Falun Gong. Her situation was unknown. Yang Jingfang received a call on her cell phone around October 30 shortly after attending an uncle's funeral in her hometown, Chao County, Anhui Province. She returned to Hefei to meet the customer. After that no one knew her whereabouts. Soon Hefei police ransacked the home of Jingfang and her mother. At that time the family knew that she was arrested; however, the police refused to let the family know where she was detained.
Dr. Yang said that Yang Jingfang, 55, was a senior engineer at the Hefei Jianghuai Instrument Factory. She started practicing Falun Gong in 1995. In 2000, Jingfang traveled to Beijing to peacefully appeal for Falun Gong. She was arrested at a Beijing bus station and was detained for one year. When she was released, she was fired from her job as an archivist, and lost her benefits. She had to support herself as a small merchant. Regarding his sister's new arrest, Dr. Yang said that he would seek help from the US government and international human rights organizations, as well as the international community and people all over the world to rescue Yang Jingfang and stop the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Reporters interviewed Dr. Yang and other practitioners whose family members were persecuted in China, including Ms. Wang Yuzhi who was successfully rescued from the United Arab Emirates recently by the Canadian government.
At 2 p.m., practitioners held a large banner reading "Rescue Our Family Members and Bring Them Home" and held a grand walk through Chinatown. Walking in the front were dozens of practitioners who had family members persecuted in China. Wearing sashes reading, "Please Help Rescue Our Family Members" and "Bring Them Home" and posters with their family members' photos, they called upon the public for support. The photos of the family members, the individual persecution cases and summaries of the persecution numbers as well as the exhibition board "Rescue Our Family Members and Bring Them Home" silently told the undeniable facts of the persecution of Falun Gong by the Jiang regime.
The parade procession was solemn and peaceful. This large-scale parade only had two policemen to control the traffic. Practitioners from around the world acted like one body and embodied Dafa practitioners' spirit. Some kind people applauded the procession and came to learn the facts from practitioners. While passing Chinatown many Chinese were astonished to see the photos of the persecution. It was a cold and clear day. Banners of "Falun Dafa is Good" "Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance" "Greetings, Fellow Chinese" and "Stop Persecuting Falun Gong Practitioners" were flying in the air and caught people's attention. Falun Dafa banners decorated the streets of Chinatown and the area around Philadelphia's Liberty Bell, which attracts many sightseers. Display boards and TVs were set up along the street so as to let the Chinese people know the truth deeper.
The theme of the activity "Rescue Our Family Members and Bring Them Home" was closely associated with the meaning of the traditional American Thanksgiving holiday, which emphasizes the togetherness of the family members. The activities attracted the attention of numerous media organizations, such as WB 17, Philadelphia Inquirer, KYW Radio, Philadelphia Daily News Asian Public Radio, World Journal Daily, Epoch Times and China Weekly.