(Clearwisdom.net) During the US Republican National Convention, many Falun Gong practitioners came to New York to hold anti-torture exhibits and clarify the truth about Falun Gong to the public. Practitioners could be seen everywhere on the busy Manhattan streets. Many moving stories arose each day.

Scores of people wanted to know why practitioners spent so much time, money and effort and volunteered to come here to clarify the truth. Below are some of the practitioners' stories and what passers-by commented. These stories may help others understand our practitioners.

"My impression isn't just a little better. I've completely changed"

When several practitioners from the Midwest first arrived in New York, they ran into a tourist couple on their way to the hotel. After greeting each other they started to talk about Falun Gong. The couple was not against Falun Gong but apparently had some misunderstanding and negative impressions about Falun Gong.

Several days later the practitioners ran into the same couple again on a bus. Their attitude toward Falun Gong had changed dramatically. They talked to practitioners the whole time. The wife expressed her sympathy for Falun Gong. They said they believe China will stop the persecution sooner or later. The wife said though she never believed the propaganda against Falun Gong in China, after hearing the same slander so many times, she had some negative impression about Falun Gong. Now, after talking to practitioners on the streets and buses, she felt practitioners are all normal people, unlike what the propaganda describes. Naturally, all misunderstandings and negative impressions disappeared.

She said, "I truly admire your persistence; it is very effective." She said she may not have believed it by merely reading a Falun Gong flyer, but the personal communication with practitioners changed her mind. She suggested for practitioners to come out and communicate with people in person, let more people understand us. A practitioner said, "I agree! It is a little better if there is personal communication with practitioners." She said, "My impression isn't just a little better. I completely changed my mind!"

"No persecution should exist"

When riding the bus between a hotel and Manhattan, a practitioner twice ran into a very well-mannered middle-aged gentleman. After polite greetings, the practitioner handed him written Falun Gong truth-clarification information. The gentleman expressed that he was not interested. The practitioner did not insist and put the material away. They started an informal chat.

"Are you living in New York?" The gentleman asked.

"No, I am staying here for just a week," replied the practitioner.

"What did you come here for?"

"That is a long story. Do you have time to hear it?" The practitioner smiled and took out the truth-clarifying material again.

Starting with what Falun Gong is all about, the practitioner told him how Falun Gong has spread around the world; how Falun Gong is being irrationally persecuted in China; how much effort practitioners have made to clarify the truth and stop the persecution and why practitioners use their vacation time to come here and clarify the truth.

The gentleman did not know anything about Falun Gong and kept nodding his head during the conversation. He said, "No persecution should exist! What you are doing is great! Very respectable." He accepted the truth-clarifying information and said he would read it very carefully. "I know a lot of people, including some state and federal congressmen;

I will tell everyone I know the truth about Falun Gong." At last he expressed his support for Falun Gong several times, hoping we could keep up our efforts and let more people learn the truth. Before getting off the bus he said, "I hope I can see you again tomorrow."

During the 20-minute ride the whole bus was very quiet. Everyone was listening to the conversation.

"As long as the persecution doesn't stop, everyone is a victim"

In Manhattan's Union Square, people often see the anti-torture displays portrayed by Falun Gong practitioners. Under the hot summer sun, staging several hours of a torture display is a physical challenge for the "actors." But their hard work is not a waste of time. The shocking displays have attracted people's attention. People began to talk about the persecution in China.

A young Western man stopped to read the Falun Gong truth display boards. When he was done reading he spoke to practitioners, "I think the cruelty and impact of this torture exhibit are too much for us. But you are doing the right thing to show these. People deserve to know what is happening. I care about events in the world and read news regularly. I knew about the persecution already, but I had no idea it's this serious!"

A practitioner told him that the display is only the tip of an iceberg [of what else goes on in China]. The real tortures and extend of the violence are much more severe and cannot be portrayed here. The young man said, "I believe you!"

The practitioner also pointed out to him that many people in China and several other countries still don't know the truth about Falun Gong. He said, "Many people in China participated in the persecution. Could it be possible that they were born bad persons? No. Many people do bad things under pressure from the authorities; others were fooled by the deceptive propaganda. They were led to hate Falun Gong and to some degree rationalize the persecution. These people are victims themselves."

The young man strongly agreed. He said that his girl friend is from Austria. That country was forced into a merger with Germany during World War II and persecuted the Jews. The crimes committed decades ago left a shadow in Austrians' hearts. The crimes became heavy historical baggage for them. "Crimes don't become less because of time. Those who have committed these crimes and their children must pay a price, including mental anguish. As long as the persecution doesn't stop, everyone is a victim," said he.

"You have a good point! I know now!"

Another Westerner stopped to ask a practitioner some questions, "Who pays you to do these things?" The practitioner answers," No one! The money comes from our salary and savings. I took a one-week vacation from work and bought the airline tickets. The flyers we hand out were designed and edited by ourselves and printed with our own money. "

The man said, "I understand that you are doing this to stop the persecution. I saw many Falun Gong practitioners in the streets; they are very powerful. But I am a little worried. Do you have any political motives? You know that for their own purpose, the US government often gives money to some groups to oppose some governments; for example, Saddam in Iraq. Are you doing this to attack the Chinese government? Do you have any other political purpose?"

The practitioners explained, "We are not opposed to the Chinese government. We have no interest in politics. We are opposing the persecution. We have no political agenda. We did not receive a penny from any government. All we are trying to do is to let more people see the facts. The motive doing all these comes from our own heart. I simply cannot be a by-stander and watch the persecution in China without taking any action. What we do has nothing to do with politics."

The man was apparently moved and said, "You have a good point! Now I know!"

Why do Falun Gong practitioners come out to clarify the truth despite so many difficulties? Because they want to tell everyone the truth and that will be of benefit to them. As long as we can help one more person know the truth, all the hardships are completely worth it.

September 6, 2004