Falun Gong founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi, made an appearance at the conference, speaking to the attendees about the principles of Falun Gong as well as the human rights violations occurring in China.

WASHINGTON DC (FDI) -- Four years after former Chinese Communist leader, Jiang Zemin, launched the persecution of Falun Gong in China, Falun Gong practitioners from around the world gathered in Washington DC to take part in the annual Washington DC Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference.

The conference was part of a four-day event in the nation's capital, consisting of a concert, march and rally on Capitol Hill calling for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China.

This year's activities in Washington DC were particularly significant for Americans as a U.S. citizen, Dr. Charles Li, is currently imprisoned in China and subjected to beatings and "brainwashing" sessions in an attempt to force him to renounce his practice of Falun Gong (news).

Falun Dafa Conference Requires Two Conference Halls

The DAR Constitution Hall in Washington DC held only part of the more than 5,000 attendees of this year's conference.

On Sunday, practitioners of Falun Gong gathered at the DAR Constitution Hall -- the largest concert hall in Washington DC. The Hall served as the main conference site for the all-day Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference -- a conference where individuals prepare and read papers about their experiences with the practice of Falun Dafa.

Volunteer conference organizers say they were unable to find a location large enough to hold the expected number of attendees. Thus, a nearby hotel served as a second conference site, with live video feeds from the main conference hall.

Conference participants came from North America, South America, Europe, Southeast Asia and Australia. The conference -- like all Falun Dafa-related events -- was free of charge, and organized by volunteers.

All-Day Concert Near Capitol Building

New York-based band "Word of Mouth" performs at the Saturday concert to raise awareness about the persecution of Falun Gong.

The four-day event began on Saturday with an all-day concert near the Capitol Building. The concert featured classical European and Asian music and dance, and included performances by prominent artists such as Ninfang and Rutang Chen -- 33-year veterans of China's Central Philharmonic Orchestra.

Despite their prestige in China as classical artists, Mr. and Mrs. Chen were detained by Chinese authorities in 2000 because they practice Falun Gong. Soon after, they escaped to live with their daughter in the U.S.

Bands from New York, Washington DC and Stockholm added contemporary music to the day's line-up. Many of the songs focused on the human rights violations against Falun Gong in China.

A highlight of the concert came when the New York-based band "Word of Mouth," backed by David Bowie's drummer, Sterling Campbell, played "Free Charles Li" (view video clip) -- a song about the real-life story of American Dr. Charles Li who was imprisoned in China four months ago. Charles Li's fiancée was also present to voice her appeal for his release.

According to the U.S. consulate in Shanghai, Dr. Li had initiated a hunger-strike on July 14 to protest the beatings and "brainwashing" sessions he is forced to attend, and was on hunger strike at the time of the concert (news).

?FONT face="Helvetica, Arial,sans-serif" color="#000000" size="2">

Over 3,000 marchers took part in Monday's march, calling for legal action against Jiang Zemin for his role in the persecution of Falun Gong in China.

March Through Downtown DC

On Monday, Falun Gong practitioners gathered at the Washington Monument and embarked on a march through the streets of downtown Washington DC. With more than 3,000 marchers, the procession made its way east to Capitol Hill, ending on the West Lawn.

Marchers held banners and signs calling for former Chinese leader, Jiang Zemin, to be brought to justice for his role in instigating and carrying out the persecution of Falun Gong.

Jiang Zemin currently faces multiple international lawsuits, including a suit filed in U.S. district court charging the former Communist Chinese leader with genocide and crimes against humanity (news).


NEWS - Jul. 23, 2003
Falun Dafa Information Center, www.faluninfo.net


Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa (about), is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance." It is a practice that was taught in private for thousands of years before being made public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture, but it is distinct and separate from other practices such as the religions of Buddhism and Taoism. Since its introduction in 1992, it quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China, and is now practiced in over 50 countries.

With government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun Gong, China's President Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999 (report), fearful of anything touching the hearts and minds of more citizens than the Communist Party. Unable to crush the spirit of millions who had experienced improved health and positive life changes from Falun Gong, Jiang's regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while quietly imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it.

The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of 757 deaths (reports / sources) since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. Government officials inside China, however, report that the actual death toll is well over 1,600, while expert sources estimate that figure to be much higher. Hundreds of thousands have been detained, with more than 100,000 being sentenced to forced labor camps, typically without trial.

Contacts: Gail Rachlin (+1 917-501-4441), Levi Browde (+1 914-720-0963), Erping Zhang (+1 646-533-6147), or Feng Yuan (+1 917-941-1097).
Fax: 646-792-3916 Email: faluninfoctr@nycmail.com, Website: http://www.faluninfo.net/
Mailbox of FalunInfo editor@faluninfo.net