On July 12, 2003, New York City Falun Dafa practitioners held a parade in Chinatown, under sunny skies, with the theme: "Celebrating American Liberty and Justice for All." Practitioners decided to hold a parade after two recent incidents that happened in Chinatown.
The first incident was the June 23 hate crime that took place in front of the Yidong Restaurant where Falun Gong practitioners were assaulted while peacefully exercising their rights to give out information in public. [for further information see Clearwisdom article: [http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2003/6/26/37399.html]. In the week following the incident the local Chinese media reported articles daily distorting the facts and slandering Falun Gong. One article reported Liang Guan Jun, the head of the business association involved in the hate crime, as urging all associations to join in to "Fight Falun Gong to the end!" This clearly incites the hate within the local community.
The second incident was the cancellation of the Chinatown 4th of July parade sponsored by several Chinese associations and co-sponsored by the American Legion (a veterans group). An invitation for groups to join the parade was made in the Chinese press, yet when Falun Gong practitioners and the Minghui School submitted applications to march in the parade, they were denied. Some of the groups participating in the parade had no problem with Falun Gong's application but the association headed by Liang Guan Jun (with close ties to the Chinese consulate) threatened to pull out their support if Falun Gong was allowed to participate in the parade. The move by the Chinese benevolent association to deny practitioners participation in a public parade based on their belief is inherently illegal. Therefore, to get around the law, the association pulled out its support and the parade was cancelled.
In light of these two events occurring in Chinatown, local practitioners decided to sponsor their own parade in Chinatown in order to show the goodness of Dafa, celebrate America's founding principles of freedom and let the local Chinese people know the facts about Falun Gong. Permits had to be arranged and a lot of work had to get done on short notice. Local practitioners cooperated smoothly to get the work done and hold a large and beautiful parade. Each step of arranging the details for the parade was an excellent opportunity for clarifying the truth to various officials and the local police precinct.
Practitioners held a parade celebrating American Liberty and Freedom as they marched through the busy streets of New York City's Chinatown. Onlookers cheered and clapped as the parade went past.
Another banner reads, "Freedom of belief is a God-given right"
A float with practitioners from five nationalities led the parade. They waved American flags and greeted the people in Chinatown.
Dancers in the Chinatown parade
Chinatown residents came out from their shops and apartments throughout Chinatown to watch the parade
The drum team could be heard for several blocks, and was greeted with cheers wherever it went
Students of Minghui School carried a banner in the parade
The parade ended in a local park. The police officer in charge told practitioners that it was a very good parade and very orderly.