Houston, Texas: Falun Dafa Practitioners' Information Stand in Chinatown is a Window to the Truth
* Working Together with Diligence
The weekend is the busiest time in Chinatown. Since early 2003, Falun Gong practitioners have been distributing Dafa truth clarification materials there on the weekends. In the beginning, they went in groups of two, and were scattered in front of supermarkets. Later, they set up a table and propped up exhibition boards showing Dafa truth clarification photos in front of a busy supermarket. It became a materials stand.
Falun Gong practitioners have been going to Chinatown to clarify the truth every Saturday. It has become a unique Chinatown scene, a window through which people can get Falun Gong related information.
Over ten Falun Gong practitioners have taken part in these efforts. They have worked together and helped each other. For example, if one practitioner could not come, another one would take his place. Some practitioners would spend whatever spare time they could find or deliver materials. Items such as foldable frames, photo boards and other items were stored in a practitioner's home close to Chinatown. That practitioner's husband is a westerner, and not a Falun Gong practitioner, but he has been very supportive and has been delivering, setting up, and packing up the items every week.
One practitioner has a very busy job, but he overcomes various difficulties and has been joining the activities without interruption.
Over the past year, the distribution of materials has experienced hardships and happiness, from initial doubt to growing understanding, acceptance and support. Some people come to the material stand to ask for information about the Falun Gong practice site, how to buy Falun Gong books, and how to learn the practice.
Surrounding Businesses Offer Kind Support
In the beginning, store owners around the area did not quite understand what Falun Gong practitioners were doing, and some even showed hostility. But after about half a year, positive feedback and support increased. Many passers-by raised their thumbs to praise Falun Gong practitioners.
One storeowner said he had at first thought that Falun Gong practitioners did everything for the sake of money, that somebody had hired them to do this. But as time went by, he came to realize that practitioners have been doing the work without interruption. He was moved. He said, "I have been watching these Falun Gong practitioners. I am moved. They are not doing this for money. They spend their own money, time, and energy. They are selfless."
When owners and employees of the nearby stores go by, they say, "It'll be great if you keep it up," "Keep going, please, keep going," "You are doing the best thing; the benefits will be great," "Falun Gong is good, Falun Gong comes every week. You should continue doing this, until all of China is righted."
The owner of a restaurant and his wife have sent beverages to practitioners and said: "Feel free to come and drink some water or use our bathrooms."
When one practitioner went shopping at a store, the owner's wife said: "We should give him a discount; he has come here to do good things every week, so we should not charge him full price."
The Falun Gong truth clarification window has dissolved many people's doubts and misunderstandings
Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Li was one of the first practitioners to run the stand. He feels it is very important to clarify the truth about Falun Gong to everyone, because many people have been brainwashed by the Jiang regime's slanderous propaganda. Those who have come to the material stand have, more or less, changed their views.
According to Mr. Li, one elderly lady used to come to pick up Dafa materials in a wheelchair. Half a year later, she switched to a cane. One day, her cane hit a photo board. She felt sorry and put her cane aside, and stood by herself to read the board. People were surprised to see that she could stand up.
One grandpa from Taiwan encourages practitioners every time he goes by. He sheds tears sometimes when he hears the facts of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. He said, "What you are doing are huge, good things; you will be rewarded with happiness."
A woman came with her daughter, who attends a university in Houston. The woman is from Japan and was visiting Houston. She spoke with Falun Gong practitioners for about half an hour, and showed great concern and longing for the facts about Falun Gong. She said she never bought things from this market, and did not know why she came that day. Before she left, she took with her many materials and VCD's, saying she would take them back to friends in Japan.
Mr. Zhang from Beijing told Falun Gong practitioners very happily, "I finally found you!" He said he found out about the place by listening to the Houston Falun Dafa radio station. He said that he liked to read magazines like "Mystery" and "Exploration" since childhood. Later, he found that he had some supernatural abilities. He could hear sounds from other dimensions. About one month ago, he started learning the Falun Gong exercises by himself, without any help from others. He talked with practitioners for one and a half hours, and still did not want to leave. The following Saturday, he came to the materials stand and told practitioners, "I finished reading Zhuan Falun on Thursday; many amazing things happened during the process." He had lower back and joints problems, and until then, could only sleep on a hard plate bed. His lower back could just bear reading for only a short while. Every morning, after getting up, his whole body would be in pain, and he had to exercise for a while before he could move freely. He had to smoke many cigarettes when reading or writing anything. But this time, when reading Zhuan Falun, he read for several hours with ease. His body became more and more comfortable, and he completely forgot about smoking. He said that he smoked less than one pack of cigarettes in several days. He seems on his way to giving up smoking. This time, he again talked over an hour with Dafa practitioners. When people came to pick up materials, he would tell them about what happened to him and the miracles of Dafa.
Delegations from China also visited the materials site. One day, at noon, over ten people from a Chinese visiting group walked to the materials site. First, they saw the exhibition boards, which showed photos of Dafa all around the world, photos showing police officers torturing Dafa practitioners at Tiananmen Square, and a graphic analysis of the staged "Tiananmen Square Immolation Event." Their eyes became widely open, and they stopped laughing.
Once, a Chinese person came and scolded practitioners angrily, "You are against the Chinese government and country. We are all Chinese; why do you do this?"
Practitioners answered, "We love our motherland. Recently, we welcomed Wen Jiabao when he visited the United States. We did not protest against Hu Jintao or Li Ruihuan when they visited foreign countries. We only protest Jiang Zemin because it's he who has decided to persecute Falun Gong. On April 25, 1999, when ten thousand Falun Gong practitioners appealed at the Appeals Office of the State Council, premier Zhu met with representatives of Falun Gong practitioners. He reiterated the 'Three No-interference Policy' to Qigong, and the issue was solved at that time.
"In 1998, Qiao Shi, the former chairman of the National People's Congress, organized an investigation of Falun Gong run by the Chinese Communist Party(CCP). His conclusion was that 'Falun Gong has one hundred benefits but not one harm to people.' When Jiang Zemin decided to persecute Falun Gong, all other six members of the Central Standing Committee were against the decision. Jiang Zemin cannot represent China. Exposing his crimes does not mean we do not love China."
The person said, "But you do things on such a large scale. Doesn't that cause China and Chinese people to lose face?"
Practitioners answered, "More than 900 Falun Gong practitioners have died as a result of the persecution. Over a hundred thousand Falun Gong practitioners have been sent to forced labor camps, jails, and mental hospitals. Even more have been sent to brainwashing sessions. If you had relatives who suffered such ill treatment, or even died in the persecution, would you still think this way?"
His tone softened a lot as he said, "Anyway, what you have done is doing no good to China."
Practitioners told him, "Suppose that this were the Cultural Revolution, and the Red Guards broke into your home to beat you. You cannot stop them. I am sure you would want somebody to uphold justice. What we overseas Falun Gong practitioners are doing right now is exactly that. Due to the efforts of Falun Gong practitioners in over sixty countries, the situation for practitioners inside China has improved, and the persecutors are somewhat restrained. On other hand, all newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations in China say the same thing. Falun Gong practitioners in China are deprived of freedom of speech. If we do not speak out, who will?"
He became silent, and simply looked at the exhibition board, unable to speak.