Touching Scenes on Union Square in Manhattan
(Clearwisdom.net) Minghui Net correspondent Xu Jing reports: Falun Gong practitioners visiting New York from the Midwest have been clarifying the truth of Falun Gong for more than six months at Manhattan's Union Square. Each day they distribute flyers and hold an anti-torture exhibition. Many people have taken informational flyers and read the information on the poster boards. After learning the truth of Falun Gong and the persecution, many people sign the petition calling for an end to the persecution, and discuss Falun Gong with their friends and family members.
On February 5, 2005, a series of dramatic scenes took place at Union Square.
A Man of Obscure Background
As practitioners clarified the truth on Union Square, a man dressed in rags came to the area near the practitioners. He stood by the poster boards and yelled at the top of his lungs, saying that Falun Gong was deceptive and practitioners' efforts to reveal the true situation of the persecution was to fool people. He said that Falun Gong had accepted over one million dollars from the U.S. government. The practitioners remained calm and were not disturbed by his words. Some of them tried to clarify the truth to him, some sent forth righteous thoughts to cleanse the interference, and some continued to clarify the truth to other people. Yet the man yelled louder and louder, paying no attention to what practitioners said to him.
Several Young Men Step Forward and Ask People to Say "Falun Dafa is Good"
As the man continued yelling, several young western men asked the practitioners if they could shout out, "Falun Gong is good" to override the man's voice. Practitioners said yes, they could. So the young men went to ask other people around the square to shout out with them, "Falun Gong is good." A group of people who had learned the truth of Falun Gong called out together rhythmically, "Falun Gong is good," "Falun Gong is good!"
The man continued yelling, but as people also continued to call out together "Falun Gong is good," his voice became softer and softer. In the end he went away, crestfallen.
Seeing that he left, people stopped calling out, "Falun Gong is good." Those who initiated the action shook hands with practitioners and left in high spirits.
The dramatic scene moved practitioners. They knew that New Yorkers had changed. After learning the truth, people chose justice and conscience. They are now doing what they can to help and support Falun Gong.
However, the story does not the end here.
The Suspicious One Gets a Chance to Speak his Doubts
Union Square is a place where many people freely express their opinions. People who advocate freedom of speech go there to give lectures as well as to encourage others to express their views. When the group of people was calling out, "Falun Gong is good," a member from a group to protect freedom of speech mistakenly thought that practitioners were trying to stop people from speaking up their opinions. Roman, the man from the group, decided to challenge practitioners on a loudspeaker, "Why didn't you allow others to speak up? Why are you coming to New York? You have been in New York for such a long time. What is your purpose? Where did you get the money?" His attitude was very unfriendly. Many people started to gather around to listen.
The practitioners realized that this was a good opportunity to clarify the truth, and that clarifying the truth was the key to everything. Only when more people come to know the truth can their doubts be dissolved and questions answered. After Roman was done asking his questions, Sen Yang, a practitioner from Chicago said, "Can we talk about ourselves?"
Roman said he would be happy to hear practitioners express their ideas, so he lent his microphone to the practitioners.
Mr. Yang told the crowd why he practiced Falun Gong. He said, "The constant hunger that had tortured me for years disappeared without any medical treatments after I started practicing Falun Gong. Now the Chinese Communist Party is ruthlessly persecuting Falun Gong. Hundreds of thousands of practitioners like me are now living a difficult life in China. All we are doing is raising awareness about the persecution in China. I call upon people to work together to stop the persecution. It's not that we don't allow people to express their opinions, but that man was simply repeating the Chinese Communist Party propaganda, slandering Falun Gong. It is exactly the deceitful propaganda that sustains the persecution. We expose the lies to stop them from poisoning people's minds. I ask you to learn more about Falun Gong before making any judgment.
The crowds listened attentively and quietly.
"I heard about the persecution, but I didn't really know what happened..."
After listening to Mr. Yang, Roman's attitude changed. His original toughness and discontent was gone. This time he expressed his doubts in a calm manner, "I heard about the persecution, but I didn't really know what happened. You are not only working against the persecution in this place. We can see that Falun Gong practitioners are calling for an end to the persecution all over Manhattan. I believe you are doing so elsewhere in the country. You have so much manpower, materials, and the props (in the anti-torture exhibition). All this takes a lot of resources. And you have been hanging on for so long. One cannot help wondering where you get the money. Is it from the U.S. government? Do you have any political agenda?"
Facing Roman and the surrounding crowd of people, Mr. Yang sincerely told everyone, "Some people may feel that money is important, but I don't think money is the most important. I have my belief. Innocent people who share this belief are being persecuted in China every minute. I cannot ignore that. I have a Doctoral degree and work as a researcher, developing high-end technology in a big company. Therefore, I have a decent income. I am using my pocket money to clarify the truth in New York. Not only New York, but I have also been to Washington D.C., California, Geneva, and Paris calling for an end to the persecution in China. To me, money is not that important. People have to live with dignity."
Mr. Yang continued, "You suspect that the U.S. government may have given us money. Indeed they haven't. Had there been any government willing to support justice and to support us in clarifying the truth of Falun Gong, we couldn't have been able to let more people know the truth. The fact is, we haven't taken a penny from any government. Then how can so many Falun Gong practitioners make it? How did they come here? Where did they get the money? We can ask them."
Mr. Yang then gave the microphone to a practitioner next to him and said, "Can you tell us why you are here?"
The practitioner said, "I drove for 16 hours this past Thursday night to get to Manhattan from the midwest. Tomorrow night, we are going to drive 16 hours back, just in time for work on Monday morning. All the expenses and the materials we are distributing here are paid for by our pocket money. Why do we go through so much trouble, spending so much time and money to do this? Because we know what's happening in China. If you know how severe the persecution is over there, and if you had friends and relatives there who are being cruelly persecuted, you would also be willing to do whatever you could to call for an end to the persecution. We are doing nothing else here but just letting people know the truth, so that through our joint efforts we can put an end to the persecution."
When the practitioners spoke, the many people listening were deeply moved. Some nodded, and some looked at the practitioners with approval and admiration.
Xu Zhiwei's Separation from His Mother for Eight Years Moves People
Xu Zhiwei, a 34-year-old software engineer working at Motorola took the microphone and pointed to an old lady standing next to him. He said, "This is my mother. She just arrived in the U.S. a couple of days ago. We haven't seen each other for eight years. After the persecution started, my mother was detained twice for attempting to appeal for Falun Gong. Her home was ransacked by the police and her passport confiscated. My fellow practitioners and I spent five years in our efforts to rescue her from China. And a few days ago, we succeeded. Please think about it. If your mother had a similar experience, are you going to attempt every possible way to rescue her, or are you going to do it only when people pay you? Without money, are you not going to help her? If your friends and relatives' lives are in danger in China, are you not going to rescue them unconditionally? Even if they are not your friends or relatives, when innocent Falun Gong practitioners are severely persecuted, shouldn't we do our best to help them? We didn't take any money from anyone, for money cannot buy one's conscience and responsibility."
Hearing that, many people nodded, and tears came to their eyes.
Due to the persecution imposed upon Falun Gong by Jiang Zemin's faction, Xu Zhiwei and his mother, Zhang Cui, had not been able to see each other for eight years. With the efforts of overseas practitioners and the help of U.S. congressmen and senators, mother and son was able to reunite on February 1, 2005. An article in the Chicago Daily Herald, on February 2, 2005 said, "She missed eight years of her son's life, and the 'first times' in the life of her three-year-old grandson, i.e. his first word, first smile, and first step. He missed his father's funeral and has been missing his mother all along."
According to the Chicago Daily Herald, on Tuesday night at O'Hare International Airport, all the efforts of the past eight years melted into the tears and hugs between mother and son, who said that their separation was due to the persecution of their belief by the Chinese Communist Party.
Questions Answered by the Crowd
Hearing what the practitioners said, Roman became friendlier. Still, he had some doubts. He asked the practitioners, "The persecution is not right, but will you allow other people to speak up their minds when you gain the political power? Those in power are unwilling to hear any different voices." A practitioner said, "We have never been interested in political power..." Before he could finish, someone in the crowd said in a loud voice, "It has nothing to do with politics. There is only one purpose for all this, that is, to stop the persecution!"
Falun Gong practitioners smiled. It seems that people have started to understand the truth.
The Q & A via the loudspeaker continued for some time. Several practitioners shared their stories and answered frequently asked questions. Roman said that he was not against Falun Gong, and that he condemns the violence inflicted toward Falun Gong by China's regime. The practitioners thanked him for lending them the microphone so that they could clarify the truth to many people.
Someone in the crowd said to a practitioner, "You don't know how many people are truly happy to see you here clarifying the truth. If you didn't step out to tell people the severity and authenticity of the persecution, people would not have a chance to know it, and they would just listen to what the Chinese government said. Please hang on and do not let yourselves be affected by random negative voices. More and more people will learn the truth. There will be a day when the power of justice will display, and that immense power is beyond the imagination of people."
"Yes," said practitioners afterwards, "Every day similar stories take place at different sites in Manhattan where practitioners are clarifying the truth. The stories reflect how everyday people are changing after they gradually learn the truth and are able to tell good from bad. The power of justice behind such changes will put an end to the most evil persecution and lies in human history."