Canada: Highlights of Toronto's Grand New Year's Celebration Party (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) On the evening of January 12, 2005, Toronto Falun Gong practitioners held the 4th Chinese New Year's Celebration Party at St. Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto. The party combined a New Year's celebration, truth clarification, and a demonstration of the beauty of Falun Dafa. Nearly 2,000 guests not only tasted nearly 200 delicious dishes prepared by practitioners and watched the excellent performances, they also deepened their understanding of the truth of Falun Gong.
After watching the performances, a lawyer friend of a practitioner wanted to read more about Falun Gong. The lawyer, and a friend who came with her, both are of Jewish origin. They said: "We understand persecution." A while later, they couldn't help asking, "Why are such nice people being persecuted? ..." The woman also asked many questions about Falun Gong. A young fellow who had visited China last year came with his friends and enjoyed the New Year's party very much. He said: "I really feel that I am back in China. It is great!"
One of the evening's programs included several practitioners sharing their stories. Five Chinese and two
Western practitioners went onto the stage to introduce themselves. Among them, He Lizhi is a former senior engineer from the Chinese Ministry of Construction, who was detained in China for three and a half years for practicing Falun Gong. He was named a
"Prisoner of Conscience" by Amnesty International, a non-governmental organization that appealed to Canadians to rescue him via their Internet website. With help from the Canadian government and from many kind-hearted people, Lizhi was rescued and traveled to Canada in May of 2004. He took the opportunity to express his gratitude to the Canadian government and to all Canadian citizens. The next speaker was Joel Chipkar, who successfully sued Pan Xinchun, the former deputy consul general of the Chinese Consulate in Toronto for slandering Joel and Falun Gong. After the Ontario Superior Court found the consul guilty of libel, Pan Xinchun was forced to leave Canada. As it was the Chinese New Year Celebration Party and the majority of the visitors were of course Chinese, Joel started his introduction with,
"I am a foreigner," in Chinese, which amused everyone.
About 10 lawyers who have been actively supporting Falun Gong came to the party as well, and many of them went onstage to express their support for practitioners. One of the lawyers also brought congratulations from three Members of Parliament. Joel Etienne, a renowned lawyer and the co-chair of Friends of Falun Gong Toronto Chapter, gave a well-received speech. He said, "I thank everyone for their contribution. I am very glad to see that the whole world now has formed an interactive body in which people help each other. This fact is no better demonstrated than after the South Asia Tsunami. This shows us that we can work together when someone somewhere in the world needs help, especially when people's human rights are compromised. In the coming New Year, I hope that the persecution of Falun Gong in China will end. Those perpetrators cannot be forgiven. I now invite everyone to stand up for a minute of silence, to mourn the practitioners persecuted to death in China."
One woman received a phone call towards the end of the party, and she went out to the lobby to answer the phone. When she got back to the party, she found that the room had been cleaned up completely without any trash left on the floor. All this had happened in about 15 minutes, as she was answering her phone call! She was really impressed by the practitioners' concerted effort. On the following day, she called a practitioner and said that she now can understand why practitioners can hold so many meaningful and good large-scale activities, and she had seen how practitioners were harmonizing the surrounding environment.
During the party, a documentary film was played. The film talked about many events of significance, including practitioners' worldwide joint efforts in bringing Jiang Zemin and his accomplices to justice, and the shooting of Australian practitioner David Liang by thugs who may have been hired by the Chinese Communist Party. The film also discussed Resolution 304, which was unanimously passed by the U.S. Congress to urge China to stop interfering with people's rights to practice Falun Gong, and to refrain from using its diplomatic officials to spread lies against practitioners on U.S. soil, as well as to release all detained prisoners of conscience including Falun Gong practitioners. During the party, many audience members signed postcards calling on the Canadian government to rescue orphans of practitioners in China. More than 700 people signed a letter calling on Prime Minister Paul Martin to bring up Falun Gong during his upcoming visit to China, and to request the immediate release of relatives of Canadian citizens.