Enduring the Cold and Welcoming the Warmth of Summer - Clarifying the Truth in Manhattan - Part 5
New York is one of the biggest cities in the world. Walking down a busy street, one meets people of different races and from different countries around the world. Our anti-torture exhibits were set up on one of those busy street corners. Every day, huge numbers of people flowed past. Regardless of their nationalities, their countries of origin, or their social status and background, as soon as they understood our intention, they gladly signed the petition without hesitation.
Of the overseas travelers who kindly gave their support, some had come from as far north as Iceland, and others had come from as far south as South Africa. As for the locals who visited our site, we met many Latin Americans who called us amigos. There were government and non-government officials from different states and from countries overseas. Their social status did not seem to matter. Everyone who gave support demonstrated a very basic human nature - love for one's fellowman. I was deeply moved by their sincerity, and their moral support and encouragement lingered in my mind long after they had left.
After hearing what was happening in China, a bewildered Indian family of six found it hard to believe that such atrocities still exist and that some Chinese have had to sacrifice their lives to practice self-cultivation. The six family members were only too eager to put their names down in support. As the crowd thinned out, I noticed that the family was still there standing. "Perhaps they had questions to ask," I thought. As I approached them, the mother said, "I would like to make a donation but could not find your donation box." I explained to them that we did not accept donations. Our desire was to call on the support of all kind-hearted and righteous-minded people to help end this ongoing persecution and to restore basic human rights in China.
Caught by the displays, a young Austrian girl stopped by. Not only did she put down her own name, but also the names of all her friends and relatives. "Shouldn't you get permission from them first?" I asked. "I am sure they would be more than happy to support this righteous cause. I am signing on their behalf," she replied.
A young man in his early twenties asked us what the exhibit was all about. After giving him an explanation, he still didn't seem to understand, so I went further and explained the inherent evil nature of the Communist Party, which was responsible for this inhuman persecution. He told me that his ancestors were from North Africa and that their family was a Christian family. They were taught from the time they were children to love everybody, even their enemies. Consequently, the Communist concept of "combating heaven and earth" and being against each other was something he could not comprehend. He told me that there were more and more Chinese migrating into his country, which could be a worry. I told him that the Chinese were kind by nature. It was the Communist ideas that had brainwashed and distorted the people's minds. Since he returned to his home country very often, he was happy to take some truth clarifying materials for his Chinese friends.
A couple stopped and stared at the display board. Pointing at the victims on the board, I told the couple that human rights did not exist in China under the Communist regime and that those brave people did not submit even under pressure. The man told me that he could understand what it was like under Communist rule. He said he was from Cuba. Cuba is another country ruled by Communism. "Many Cubans," he said, "had risked their lives and escaped across the sea to the United States." He added that he was most displeased with the US government for ignoring the inhuman persecution in China for too long, instead letting trade with China come first.
One day, a shabbily attired man stopped by. When I asked him if he would sign the petition, without hesitation, he picked up the pen with his left hand and signed the petition slowly. While he was writing, I noticed that his right hand was incapacitated. Noticing my curiosity, he told me that after an illness three years ago, he had lost all control of his right hand and, because of that, he lost his job as well. I turned around and picked up a handmade lotus flower, which had a label "Falun Dafa is good" in Chinese and handed it to him. "Hang up this flower in your house and recite those words a few times a day. It will help you." After repeating those words with me, making sure he could pronounce the words correctly, the man smiled and left.
More and more Chinese signed the petition voluntarily, and more and more of them accepted the truth clarifying materials handed out. In the beginning, many of them were reluctant to accept them. After explaining to them and telling them moving stories of Falun Dafa practitioners, our words seemed to strike home. Many of them happily accepted the materials and thanked us for them.
One day, two ladies stopped by. Pointing at the picture on a display, I said, "Look at them! These people just wanted to live a healthy life but were deprived of their rights." The ladies nodded their heads. I told them that many of these people had been dying of illnesses before taking up Falun Gong practice. Falun Gong had saved many families.
One of them asked, "Is it true that practitioners are not allowed to seek treatment from doctors when they are sick? There is a statement in the book Zhuan Falun which says Dafa disciples aren't allowed to do healings." I replied, "When the Chinese government banned the practice in 1999, the state newspaper twisted the facts around in support of the government propaganda and said that practitioners were not allowed to see doctors when they were sick. The intention was to defame Falun Gong and our Teacher and to instill hatred in people towards Falun Gong."
The two ladies seemed to have got the message. I hope they will pass it on to their friends.