South Australia: Clarifying the Truth During the Easter Holidays (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) From March 25 to early April, there were a lot of activities all over Australia to celebrate the Easter Holidays. The Australian Falun Gong practitioners used the holiday time to clarify the truth and let more Australians learn about Falun Gong and the persecution in China.
Some practitioners heard that there would be a lot of large scale activities in the South Australia area, including a 100,000-visitor annual horse racing event, so over a hundred practitioners took a long weekend trip to Adelaide from Sydney and Melbourne to introduce Falun Gong and clarify the truth to local people. After they arrived, they separated into groups to go to different areas and towns and to participate in various activities. Practitioners divided into small teams of seven or eight people to demonstrate exercises, distribute flyers, introduce Falun Dafa and collect signatures for a petition letter. In just a few days, they collected over 1300 signed petition letters from the sparsely populated South Australia area.
There were a lot of moving stories during the journey; here are just a few of them.
"Besides this, what else can I do for you?"
One young man in modern attire listened to the practitioners' introduction. He not only signed the petition letter, but also told his friends nearby to sign the letter. He told them that it was for justice and people's freedom.
After they signed their names, he felt it was not enough so he asked, "Besides this, what else can I do for you?" He wanted to donate money to help the practitioners who are persecuted in China. But Falun Gong practitioners do not accept donations. When he heard practitioners were not doing this for money; that they just wanted more people to hear the truth and to help stop the persecution, and especially when he heard that the practitioners used their spare time and drove over ten hours to come down south, he was almost moved to tears. He could not find the words to express his emotion so he embraced two practitioners and took some more petition letters and truth clarification materials. He said he would collect more signatures from his family and friends and give them to the practitioners next day.
"When Mr. Downer comes next time, we will show him the exercises."
In the daytime, an owner of a local restaurant saw the practitioners doing the exercises beside the street. When he met Falun Gong practitioners distributing materials, he was curious and asked the practitioner what it was. The practitioner told him what Falun Gong is and how China had extended the persecution even to foreign countries like Australia. For example, under China's political and economical pressure, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, had signed a certificate to ban Falun Gong practitioners from using banners and posters outside the Chinese Embassy every month for three years.
After learning this, the restaurant owner was shocked. He said he had known Mr. Downer for many years. He was the representative of this district and he often came back to participate in activities. He watched the exercises with interest and asked about how to learn them. He said, "Next time when Mr. Downer comes, we will show him the exercises."
Before he left, he asked for more truth clarifying materials. He said he would put them in his restaurant and let his customers read them. He said he wanted this to be a topic of discussion among his customers the next day. He asked practitioners to write the Chinese character "Please read" on the paper. He explained that this was a tourist town and he often has Chinese visitors in his restaurant. He wanted these Chinese customers to learn the truth about Falun Gong.
Foreign Minister's supporter satisfied with the answer
It was reported that there would be over 100,000 visitors from nearby cities coming to the annual horse-racing event at the end of March. The practitioners thought it was a good chance to let people learn the truth, so they talked to several residents near the race track, asking if they could display some banners about Falun Dafa so the passing by drivers could see them. Soon, the practitioners found a few good open spots to hang banners and demonstrate the exercises. After practitioners' clarified the truth to them, the owners happily agreed to their request.
But on the first afternoon after the event started, a house manager complained to the practitioners, because among the "Falun Dafa" and "Truth Compassion Forbearance" banners, there was one banner stating, "Mr. Downer, please don't help the Chinese Communist Party persecute Falun Gong in Australia." The house he managed had its foundation laid by Mr. Downer's grandfather, and he was Mr. Downer's loyal supporter too. So he was unhappy to read the banner and thought it was disrespectful of the foreign minister so he asked the practitioners to take it down; otherwise he would not allow the practitioners to use this place the next day.
The practitioners explained the facts to him. They said that they didn't come here to be against the foreign minister, because he did not sign the certificate from his own will. It was because of the Chinese Communist Party's political and economic pressures. So we came here with a compassionate attitude like a friend; we want to support him and also want the people of his district to support him and give him the courage to resist the pressure from Chinese Communist Party and stop signing this certificate. The manager became happy after hearing the explanations. He no longer wanted the practitioners to put down the banner and also said he would raise the Falun Gong issue when he met with the Foreign Minister next time.
The practitioners did the exercises from morning to night. Many drivers saw the practitioners and read the banners. They honked their horns or gave "thumbs up" to show respect. Some stopped their cars and asked for informational materials.
Foreign Minister's Friends and Neighbors Learn the Truth
In many activities, the practitioners met friends and neighbors of the Foreign Minister who had known him for years. Some were his children's friends and schoolmates. Most of them didn't know about Falun Gong and the persecution in China. When they learned the truth about Falun Gong and the Certification Story, they were surprised. Many signed their names on the petition letter and said they would ask him about Falun Gong and the Certificate issue the next time they saw him. One said, "I know Mr. Downer. Next time I meet him, I will ask him about this matter." Another one said, "I voted for Mr. Downer so he represents me. When he does right thing, I have a share of that, but when he does the wrong thing, I have one share of responsibility for that too. I will tell him that restricting the Falun Gong group's right of free speech is wrong." Many people who signed the petition letter also asked for a few more copies to take to their family and friends.
A Young Man Waiting for the Truth
When practitioners distributed the flyers along the street in one town, a young man about 17 or 18 years old sitting in the front yard saw the practitioners. He hurriedly came out to ask what it was. A practitioner briefly clarified the truth to him. The young man immediately said he wanted to support the petition. He also asked where he could learn the exercises. When the practitioners were leaving, he asked for a few more petition letters and said he would let his friends in the house sign them.
"Sir, Please Don't Allow More Innocent People to be Murdered"
An Australian citizen read the report about the Certificate in the newspaper. He clipped the article and included it with his letter to the foreign minister. He also faxed a copy to Falun Gong practitioners. In the letter he wrote: Dear Sir, Please don't allow more innocent people to be murdered. Please remember the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Our government should not be afraid of making China unhappy. This kind of thing should never happen again. I am not a member of it (Falun Gong). I am an ordinary Australian citizen.
"This Is Not Politics, It Is Human Rights"
Mt. Barker is a small town, but the Mt. Barker Festival is an important event. The Falun Gong's booth's location was not very good but practitioners' Tang Dynasty Costume Show and Exercise Demonstration attracted many people. Many of them wanted to learn about Falun Gong. When they heard that such a peaceful and beautiful exercise was persecuted in China and that the Australian Foreign Minister signed a certificate every month to limit Falun Gong's free speech outside the China Embassy, many signed their names on the petition letters. One elderly lady came to our booth to ask for a petition letter. When someone told her it had political intentions, she said, "You are wrong. This is not politics. It is human rights."