(Clearwisdom.net) February 13, 2005 was the fifth day of the first lunar month, and Falun Gong practitioners in Washington DC participated in the New Year Parade Celebration in Chinatown sponsored by the Chinese Association. This is the fifth year that Falun Gong practitioners were invited to participate in the traditional Chinese New Year celebration, and the practitioners felt even more support, respect and appreciation from the Chinese community.

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Falun Gong exercises demonstration
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The banner reading "Falun Dafa is good"
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Falun Gong practitioners' Dragon Dance Group

The skies were bright and clear. The spectators were crowded in the main streets and small alleys in Chinatown. According to the sponsor, the parade this year had the best turnout in years.

In the early morning, some Falun Gong practitioners volunteered to help the parade organizing committee set up a huge archway of colored balloons on the street in front of the presiding stage. Inside the Elder's Building in Chinatown, practitioners set up tables for truth clarification. The practitioners played videos for teaching the Falun Gong exercises and videos of the Chinese New Year Global Gala hosted by NTDTV.

Before the parade began, more than ten Falun Gong practitioners demonstrated the exercises at the central park in Chinatown. Many passersby came by to watch, and a lot of people expressed a desire to learn the exercises.

At the invitation of the sponsor, several Western practitioners and young practitioners wearing bright yellow exercises suit unfurled a huge American flag, walking at the front of the parade. Western practitioner Bjoern said, "Falun Gong transcends national boundaries and races, and is widely spread around the world, and it has been recognized by more and more people."

The dragon dance group composed of Falun Gong practitioners in bright yellow exercise suits was the most conspicuous group in the parade. The dragon danced up and down, turned and rolled as if it were flying in the sky, receiving a lot of cheers. The exercise demonstration group composed of several dozen practitioners was right behind the dragon dance group. During the parade, the practitioners stopped several times to demonstrate the exercises, gaining rounds of applause from the spectators. Two large red lanterns were arranged at both sides of the banner reading "Falun Dafa is good," adding a festive atmosphere. Practitioners waved to the spectators during the parade, who returned the New Year's greetings warmly.

A representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S., officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce and Department of Labor, as well as City Councilors of Washington DC addressed the spectators, and then the host invited the Falun Gong practitioners' dragon dance group and the lion dance group from the Huangshi Martial Arts Club to come to the front of the presiding stage to give performances, to the delight of the spectators.

That evening, the Chinese Association, composed of 28 prominent Chinese groups, held a grand evening banquet at a Chinese restaurant, with representatives from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S., officials from the Department of Commerce and Department of Labor and State, and city councilors in attendance. Falun Gong practitioners were also invited to the banquet.

At the banquet, the sponsor expressed appreciation to the Falun Gong practitioners in Washington DC for their contributions to the Chinese community in these past years and issued a medal of appreciation to the practitioners. Representative for the Falun Gong practitioners Professor Nie Sen from American Catholic University accepted the medal and sent Chinese New Year's greetings to the guests. Dr. Nie said, "The golden rooster crows, the day breaks. I hope the countless persecuted Falun Gong practitioners in Mainland China will walk through the darkness before dawn as soon as possible, and greet the day of brightness and freedom when the truth reveals itself."

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Prior to the evening performance of the banquet, the host invited the practitioners to play a 12-minute video of the NTDTV Chinese New Year Global Gala. The practitioners also got on the stage and sang the theme song of one program in the Gala "The Legend of the New Year," adding to the festive atmosphere.

During the banquet, some leaders of the Chinese communities especially came to the table where some Falun Gong practitioners sat, making toasts and once again thanking the practitioners for their contributions to the community.

Professor Nie Sen said, "I feel that we have become not only a participating group of the New Year parade, but also that we have more and more integrated into the Chinese community. We have gained more and more respect and support in the Chinese community."