Thoughts About My Responsibilities as a Practitioner in America

Ever since Master' lecture in Michigan, I have been pondering my role as a Westerner within the "Fa rectification". He said there is a reason we obtained the Fa [law and universal principle] overseas (outside of China) and that nothing is accidental. And since there are relatively few of us here in America, I' been thinking that there must be something unique about each and every one of us that we can contribute. I speak English, so obviously that allows me to hongfa [introduce Falun Dafa] and clarify the truth to people here in a language that they understand. Westerners are more able to relate to me and understand that the Fa is for everyone, not just for Chinese. I am also a part of this society in a way that a Chinese person will never be, so I have lots of connections through friends and family. I can' even imagine what it would be like if the roles were reversed and I were to go live in a Chinese society where everything and everyone is foreign to me. More importantly, there' a lot more in my culture and educational background that allows me to look at things in ways that can help the Chinese practitioners around me step out of their own stubborn concepts. I learn from them, and they can learn from me. I think that' why Master said that there are advantages and disadvantages to certain traits, like being introverted. By being together, I think Westerners and Chinese can help balance out the more ordinary aspects of our behavior. Today I realized that one of my most important assets is my American passport. With it, I can travel virtually anywhere in the world -- I' always thought a '' was a credit card until I saw my Chinese friends having to apply for a visa before they could even set foot in Canada! Now I' hearing that there' an important conference in Hong Kong on January 13th and 14th. It' only a few days away, but I feel strongly that it' my responsibility to attend. Holding a Falun Dafa conference there is very symbolic because Hong Kong is now part of Chinese soil. It is, however, supposed to operate under the ' government, two systems' rule. That' why Falun Gong is still legal there. I read in a news report that the Hong Kong government is lending us a large auditorium in City Hall for this conference, despite the displeasure of Beijing. It struck me that Hong Kong is positioning itself in a most courageous way. Many Taiwan practitioners had wanted to attend this conference, but they no longer can because they have been denied visas to enter Hong Kong. I don' know why they would have been denied entry since Hong Kong has always openly welcomed tourists ?they say it has great shopping and fantastic food. But no matter what, I, as an American citizen, can simply ask for a couple of days off work, buy my ticket and go. It would take so little for me to go, but it would be so meaningful. I think I could be part of the message to the overseas Chinese community that Falun Gong is not anti-China and that we aren' any of the bad things that Jiang Zemin forces the propaganda machines to say we are. All eyes will be on Hong Kong to see how China responds to this conference. As for when I return to the U.S., all I' need is a driver' license and I' be able to go to the Florida conference on the 27th of January. I won' even need to take any time off from work to attend since it' just the weekend. I also think this conference is important to support because it' the first large-scale Westerners' conference ever. The general public is warmly invited so it' good for hongfa, too. This will be the time to exchange experiences of how to deal with issues that are specific to Westerners and that Chinese people may not have a good understanding of. Since the Western practitioners are scattered all over America, this will also be a rare opportunity to get to know each other and create our own meaningful cultivation environment. Going to a conference may not seem like we' really doing very much, but in reality, it can do a lot to '' our environment. It' like the issue of whether a practitioner should just practice and read at home or if he or she should consistently attend a reading group once or twice a week. On some level, it may not seem that crucial of a decision, but on other levels, the difference is immense. Reading together isn' just reading together. Anyone who has been to a really good group intensive reading knows that it' a wonderful environment for discussions to become increasingly deeper and where practitioners sometimes seem to break through many levels of understanding within the space of a few seconds. A reading group is also another way for practitioners to keep in touch during a time when the tests may not always be so easy. Master has said that the practitioners in China and the ones overseas are one body. Their fates and our own are linked. They as particles are confined, yet we are free to move around and interact with others. We should make use of this freedom to go out and tell the world the truth about the situation in China and help other particles to start moving closer together, too. We in America are touched when we read about the courage of practitioners in China, but I think they are also touched to hear about Westerners giving a selfless effort to do something for the Fa. Ultimately, the heart is the same. We should never underestimate the potential that is within each practitioner ?Western or Chinese. Even a little atom contains so much power. But it seems to me that to have an impact in this human dimension, the atoms have to join with others to form molecules. For example, a little carbon atom can' do much here in the world, but when combined properly with more carbons and some oxygen and hydrogen atoms, together they can form all sorts of things that are complex and imbued with life. This is just my own understanding, but I think that only by joining together and enlightening to our special roles during this process can we ultimately achieve something that is greater than the sum of the parts. Only when we live up to our potential and the wisdom that Master has given us will we be truly worthy of the Fa. A Western Practitioner

Swiss Government Opposes Suppression of Falun Gong

On July 20, 2000, Falun Gong practitioners in Switzerland came to Bern to promote Falun Dafa in front of the Federal Building. The world has noticed this. On December 4th, 2000, Swiss Falun Gong practitioners were invited back to the federal building by the Swiss parliament to observe a special session, whose topics included the Falun Gong issue. In the afternoon session, a parliament member questioned the government on the Falun Gong issue. He asked the Federal Government what their attitude is towards the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners in China, and what actions the Swiss Government had taken to secure the release of all jailed practitioners and to end the mistreatment of all the Falun Gong practitioners. He also asked about the government' future plans on this issue. Foreign Minister J. Deiss answered these questions. He said: "Since the Chinese government' ban on Falun Gong in July 1999, practitioners' basic human rights were brutally abused. The Swiss Federal Government has been closely monitoring the events. We asked the Swiss embassy in Beijing to provide us with information on regular basis. Following the bi-lateral relationship agreement between the two countries, the Swiss government has repeatedly raised concerns to China regarding the mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners. We hope that China would respect the constitutional right of its citizens regarding freedom of belief. The Swiss government has told China more than once that the Falun Gong practitioners don' seem to bring any harm to the society, therefore there is no reason to limit the practitioners' freedom." The minister also said: "At the United Nation' Human Rights Convention in March, some people asked that we ban Falun Gong practitioners' activities in Geneva. We refused. During the convention, the foreign minister expressed concerns of China' harsh treatment toward certain ethnic minorities and religious groups. These groups' basic rights are constantly abridged and blatantly violated. The Swiss government will continue to push the Chinese government to respect all its citizens, including Falun Gong practitioners, especially those in jail." Since the persecution of Falun Gong started in July 1999, practitioners in Switzerland, like tens of thousands of practitioners in other countries, stepped out to defend and promote Falun Dafa. They followed Master' teachings to "Validate Dafa with reason; clarify the truth with wisdom; spread the Fa and save the people with compassion." (Rationality) They joined the historical trend of Fa-rectification. They distributed truth-telling materials to people at all levels and raised strong concerns about the brutal mistreatment of Falun Gong practitioners. As a result, the news media continuously provided positive coverage of Falun Gong. Members of parliament, government officials in the offices of the Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Justice and the Police Department responded positively to Swiss Falun Gong practitioners' requests. A Foreign Ministry official wrote: "Demand for and protection of human rights is one of the corner stones of Swiss foreign policy. The Federal government has been closely monitoring Chinese government' crackdown on ethnic minorities and religious groups. Their basic rights are being flagrantly ignored. This is especially true of Falun Gong practitioners. The Swiss Federal Government and the president are well informed and closely watching these developments in China. They have expressed their opinions to the Chinese government." When he visits China, the Swiss President, Mr. Ogi, will remind the Chinese government that the bi-lateral relationship between Switzerland and China has been established based on the respect of human rights. He will further discuss this topic and express the Swiss government' concern about the current situation. Officials from the Swiss Federal Ministry of Justice and Police wrote a letter to practitioners in which he stated: "I hope we can work together to achieve success." After the Los Angeles event, during which some American Chinese (hired by the Chinese government) disturbed Falun Gong practice, the Swiss police immediately informed all it' branches, asking them to take measures to ensure the Swiss Falun Gong practitioners' safety. The Swiss government officials indicated that Falun Gong is a peaceful movement that benefits health. Falun Gong has never brought any trouble to society, nor has it caused any negative effect. During October and November 1999, practitioners in Switzerland and other European countries started a signature drive. In less than one month, more than 27,000 signatures were collected in Switzerland alone. The practitioners felt strongly that, with the development of the Fa-rectification, more and more people have begun to learn about Falun Dafa. A reporter from the "Swiss Times" wrote: "The positive public reaction far exceeds Falun Gong practitioners' expectations. Many people signed their names to express their support to Falun Gong and their outrage to the Chinese government' brutal persecution." On November 20, 2000, the practitioners submitted the signatures to the Swiss Federal Government. An official who received the signatures said: "So many people signed their names to denounce the Chinese government' persecution of Falun Gong. This is an undeniable fact. It represents the will of the Swiss people. The Swiss Government and the parliament will continue to urge China to stop the persecution. We will push China to start a peaceful dialogue and resolve the crisis. China should allow people the freedom of belief." Before the New Year, a Swiss Foreign Minister wrote in a letter to Falun Gong practitioners: "I hope the New Year brings justice to Falun Gong practitioners. I hope the practitioners' rights will be respected as well." A newspaper' chief editor wrote: "Falun Gong practitioners, may your glorious efforts achieve success in 2001." A Falun Gong Practitioner in Switzerland January 3, 2001

AP: Police Arrest Falun Gong Members

(1/9/01 4:31:10 AM PT)

BEIJING -- Beijing courts on Tuesday sentenced three followers of the outlawed Falun Gong movement to as long as six years in prison for printing and distributing flyers protesting the government crackdown.

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