Wednesday, October 13, 2004

An international fight against persecution has gained support from the people of Macarthur.
A petition calling for the Federal Government to protect the safety and basic rights of Australian Falun Dafa practitioners has been signed by 2000 residents.

Falun Dafa -- also known as Falun Gong -- is a Chinese practice of self-improvement and exercise with the guiding principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance.

The practice was banned in China in 1999 by the former president Jiang Zemin, and practitioners say there has been a campaign of persecution and torture ever since.

The petition was started after Sydney man David Liang, 42, was shot in both feet after he and eight other Australians arrived in South Africa to file a law suit against visiting Chinese officials.
The petition calls for the Federal Government to realize that there is increasing violence against Australian citizens and to understand that these attacks are acts of terrorism.

Stacey Wang of Ingleburn said many Macarthur people supported the Falun Dafa cause.

"Australians, Chinese and Vietnamese all practice in the local area," Ms Wang said.

"Most of them practiced before the persecution and know that Falun Dafa is very good and very helpful." Ms Wang said Chinese practitioners living in Macarthur had been black-listed by the Chinese government and had had trouble getting visas and renewing passports.

Zoran Bulic of Ingleburn, a practitioner for two years, said Falun Dafa offered health and psychological benefits.

"It's a very simple practice but a very powerful one," Mr. Bulic said, "it teaches people how to be good."

Ms Wang said the petition was a way of bringing David Liang's plight to the Macarthur region.

"We would like to let everyone know about the terrorism and the evil nature of the persecution," she said.

"Even outside China, we deeply feel the persecution and we want to stand up and say no to the evil."

Ms Wang said Macarthur residents were quick to show concern about the issue.

"The people agree that the Government should do something about it," she said.
The petition will be sent to Federal Opposition Leader and Werriwa MP Mark Latham and to Macarthur MP Pat Farmer.