How a One-Day Extension of My Business Trip to a Small Island Nation Resulted in Positive Coverage of Falun Dafa from Five Major Media
(Clearwisdom.net) While clarifying the truth to the people in China is our top priority as a whole body, clarifying the truth to people of other countries or cities using the media should also be paid attention to. Even in a short time, a great deal can often be accomplished, as in this instance.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit a small nation on business for four days. At the time, there were no practitioners living there, and most people had never heard of Falun Gong. I extended my trip by one day, hoping to raise some awareness of Falun Gong and the persecution.
During my final 24 hours there, I had 5 interviews with major newspapers, TV and radio stations. The interviews were arranged by calling them directly. All 5 made positive reports about Falun Gong and raised awareness of the persecution in China.
This report shares some of my experiences from the trip.
Preparation before the trip
Before my trip, I went on the Internet to find out what the major newspapers, TV and radio stations were in the country. I printed out the information and took it with me.
I talked to Mary, a friend of mine who lived there, and told her that I would like to raise awareness of Falun Gong and the persecution in China, and asked if she could help arrange meetings with people who may be able to help.
I emailed Mary some information giving an overview of Falun Gong and the persecution in China, details about the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passing Resolution 188, and reports from human rights groups, government and public support from my country, and links to our websites: www.falundafa.org and www.faluninfo.net.
Local human rights group started campaign for Falun Gong
During the business portion of my trip, my friend Mary told me that a local human rights group had begun to start a campaign for Falun Gong.
I later found out that the head of this organization had never heard of Falun Gong before my friend Mary forwarded the information to her.
After his own research on Falun Gong and the persecution (there are some really good in-depth reports from human rights groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch etc), he quickly decided to start a local campaign for Falun Gong.
All this happened within 3 days, and without any involvement on my part other than initially sending the information to my friend. I was very touched by the heartfelt actions taken by Mary and this human rights group.
I found out from the Internet that the major daily newspaper is read by about 80% of the population. There are also a few major local TV stations and some radio stations.
During the business portion of my trip, from Monday to Thursday noon, I had a very tight schedule and had little time for anything else. After I finished work, I immediately started to contact media, focusing on major newspapers, and TV stations.
When I called a newspaper or TV station, I asked to speak to the news editor. I told them that I had a very interesting story: "I am visiting your country for only a few days. I am a Falun Gong practitioner from North America."
Then I briefly explained what Falun Gong is and the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong in China. I told the editors that a local human rights group had launched a campaign for Falun Gong.
3 of the 4 newspapers and TV stations that I contacted were able to schedule interviews right away, and were able to do so within the 24 hour period I still had on the island until my plane left mid-day Friday.
The media that I felt had the most influence was the largest daily newspaper. I talked to its chief reporter several times. Despite his efforts, he could not find a reporter to cover the story. He passed me on to the lifestyle editor who told me that they needed a few weeks notice.
I thought about giving up, but then I thought that 80% of the people here read this newspaper every day. I should not give up.
I decided to call the chief editor. He immediately was very interested in the story. He had heard of Falun Gong in the international news and thought this was a good opportunity for local people to learn about the topic from a practitioner. He quickly arranged an interview for me that evening.
The media interviews
Before calling the media and before the interviews, I took time to study the Fa and send forth righteous thoughts.
The most common questions asked were:
What is Falun Gong?
What is the difference between Falun Gong and Yoga and Taichi?
Why did China ban Falun Gong?
How can the local people help?
How can the local people learn to practice Falun Gong?
Here is what I usually told them:
Falun Gong is a way of life to improve body, mind and spirit through meditation, exercise and moral teachings. The core principle of Falun Gong is Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance and we strive to LIVE these principles in everything we do.
I also made it clear that it was not the Chinese government that persecutes Falun Gong, but Jiang, the head of the regime is the one man behind the whole persecution.
I explained that Falun Gong's core principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance are opposite to how Jiang works and how he controls the government and the people. The reporters all seemed to be able to understand this very well.
One reporter even expressed strong interest to learn Falun Gong after I demonstrated the exercises and answered her questions. She also suggested that I should hold a Falun Gong introduction class if I come to their country again. She would announce it on TV.
"Do not repeat the lies against Falun Gong"
During one interview, I was asked what the Chinese government says about Falun Gong. I gave a few examples. The reporter told me that she would give the example of the Chinese government calling the practice "cxxx". I regretted this immediately and learned that I should not have mentioned such defamation.
I firmly told her that it was because of defamation like this that people are being persecuted and are suffering in China. I told her that if she decided to mention this, she should immediately clarify the truth, that Falun Gong is opposite of that accusation.
I sat down and sent forth righteous thoughts after the interview.
In my next interview, when the reporter asked me the same question, I told him: "I would not even want to repeat those lies and defamation."
It turned out that neither of their reports mentioned any of the defamation.
Live interview on a music radio station
After a TV interview, the reporter walked me out of their studio.
I remembered reading from the station's introduction that this company has both TV and radio stations. So I asked him if he would introduce me to their radio station. He gladly agreed and introduced me to a host of a music radio station.
At first, the host complained that she was given too many unexpected guests that afternoon and she had not been able to broadcast any of the advertisements yet. But she agreed and told me that she did not have too much time for me on air.
I asked her how much time we could talk on the air. She said 4-5 minutes. I told her that was plenty of time.
She had never heard of Falun Gong, so I gave her a 30 second run down of the story and then we went on the air, live.
This interview turned out to be the best among all my 5 interviews. I was able to talk to the listeners directly, without editing, from heart to heart.
At the end of the interview, the host told me that she was fascinated by Falun Gong. She said she would announce the Falun Gong websites in later parts of her program and asked me to send her more Falun Gong news in the future.
The next day, while I was waiting for my flight at the airport, a man stared at my bright Falun Gong yellow T-shirt while walking up to me, and asked: "Were you on radio yesterday?" I said, yes. He smiled, and told me: "It was very good!"
Putting a seemingly international issue into a local context
Putting this seemingly international issue into a local context was important, as it made it much easier for the local media to cover the story. During my trip, the local campaign by a human rights group was very helpful.
A few other examples of how to "localize" the story are:
-hold a talk on Falun Gong to the public
-hold a Falun Gong exercise introduction session
-have the support of government official(s)
-mention that a friend/relative/colleague who were persecuted or whose relatives are persecuted in China
-have a signature collection activity at a busy public place
Some of these ideas were suggested to me by the media.
People warmly endorse Dafa warmly and offer to help spread the word
I invited some people I got to know in this island nation to join me in morning exercise sessions.
At 6am on Wednesday morning, 3 people showed up in the park and learned the exercises with me. They all told me that they felt the practice was wonderful and the exercises were so easy to learn.
On Friday morning, two more people joined us, including the head of the human rights group and the owner of a spiritual bookstore.
In a short hour, they insisted on learning all 4 of the standing exercises. They all loved their experiences.
One person had self learned many Qi Gong and martial arts and had been offering lessons to local people. He told me that he understood Falun Gong must be offered free of charge. He said he would like to offer 1 to 2 days of free Falun Gong sessions per week.
The owner of a spiritual bookstore who came and practiced with me said: "Next time you are here, I will be happy to host a Falun Gong session in my book store." He also plans to buy Dafa books and tapes from the Amazon online bookstore. He said that for people who could not afford to buy the book, he would offer a free copy for people to borrow.
He continued: "When I have more funds, I will donate Falun Gong books to the library."
People have been waiting for Dafa. Once they find it, they know how precious it is.
When I look back, I realize that Master had arranged everything so well and made it all so easy for my trip. So many people got to learn about Dafa for the little effort and little time I put out. Thank you Master.