(Clearwisdom.net) On July 3, 2002, the Australian Victoria Provincial Multicultural Committee held a Chinese Community Consulting Conference in the Melbourne City Hall. More than eighty representatives from major Chinese organizations attended. Local Dafa practitioners believed that this was a good opportunity to clarify the truth about Dafa and make friends.

In May of this year, some Chinese organizations, which didn't know the truth, held a photo exhibition to slander Falun Gong. The Chinese consulate supplied all the pictures. After this event, local practitioners explained to the "Equal Opportunity Committee" that the exhibition violated the Victoria Ethnic and Religious Tolerance Law. They also pro-actively contacted these organizations and clarified the truth about Falun Gong to them. Upon hearing the truth, some community members expressed their regret and said that they would never do that again. However, some other people refused to listen and remained hostile despite our effort to communicate. This conference provided a good opportunity to clarify the truth to those people.

A conference organization committee member that was sitting on the stage was also a member of the Multicultural Committee's Asian Office. He helped to organize the slanderous photo exhibition in May. He apparently was not familiar with the Ethnic and Religious Tolerance Law; otherwise he would not have participated in that exhibition. Before the meeting, he refused to listen to practitioners' explanations and categorically denied any wrongdoing. When he saw practitioners in the audience, he became very nervous for fear that the practitioners might ask questions to embarrass him and other photo exhibition participants.

Before this conference, the practitioners had a discussion regarding how to clarify the truth during the conference. We all agreed that what we were doing was offering salvation to all sentient beings. Even when we use legal procedures to safeguard Dafa, we are offering our compassion to them and trying to prevent them from committing more crimes against Dafa. We are not trying to fight them to see who has the upper hand (because they indicated that they would continue organizing the slanderous photo exhibition). We felt that during the conference, we must make sure we separate the evil interference from the people that have been fooled. Based on this understanding, the practitioners did not speak up right away. Instead, they kept silent at the beginning and sent forth powerful righteous thoughts.

Before the end of the conference, a practitioner delivered a speech on behalf of the Australian Falun Dafa Association. Referring to the theme of the conference, she expressed how fortunate the practitioners in Australia were, being able to practice Falun Gong freely. She further pointed out that our brothers and sisters in China had no such freedom. She said, "Before the persecution, practitioners just practiced their cultivation quietly. Now we are clarifying the truth in order to stop the persecution. In the past, we might not have communicated this message clearly. Therefore, there are some misunderstandings."

She also referred to the photo exhibition without mentioning specific organizations. She suggested that the Multicultural Committee should promote awareness of the Ethnic and Religious Tolerance Law so that people would know what is allowed and what's not allowed in Australia.

Before the conference started, some practitioners visited George Lekakis, chairman of the Multicultural Committee, in order to address their concerns regarding the photo exhibition. Originally, the practitioners only planned to give him some truth clarifying materials and a VCD, but during the meeting, he directly asked for the books Zhuan Falun and Falun Gong. Because Mr. Lekakis had some understanding of Dafa, he smiled while listening to the practitioner's speech.

When it was his turn to speak, Mr. Lekakis began by welcoming the practitioners who attended the conference. He stressed that the Australian government guarantees religious freedom, which is an integral part of a multicultural society. Anyone who is victimized by slanderous attack because of ethnic or religions background can file a complaint. The Equal Opportunity Committee will try to mediate. If the mediation failed, the case could be transferred to Civil and Administrative Arbitration Department. With a grin on his face, Mr. Lekakis half jokingly said that if someone is physically attacked, he or she should immediately call the police or himself.

Mr. Lekakis' speech was translated twice, once into Mandarin and then into Cantonese. All the Chinese community representatives, especially those who participated in the photo exhibition, received this important information about the law. We realized that in this case, Mr. Lekakis' words had a more powerful effect than our own, even though what he told people was no different from our own message.

Because of practitioners' compassion and sincere words, no one reacted negatively. The Asian Committee member who was on-stage seemed to relax a lot as well. After the conference, with a smile, he greeted the practitioner who made the speech. Another photo show attendee asked a practitioner to take a picture for him. The atmosphere was quite friendly.

After this meeting, the practitioners realized that we should use more creative ways to expand our truth clarification effort. Just handing out flyers on the street is not enough. We should make friends with Chinese people in the communities. If we can establish a normal way to communicate with people, then practitioners' own behavior can change the way people look at Dafa. We should have more contacts with society and not isolate ourselves from people because we are "busy."

July 5, 2002