Philadelphia: Practitioners Rally to Mark Twelve Years of Resisting the Persecution (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) On July 22, 2011, several dozen practitioners held a rally at Dilworth Plaza in front of the Philadelphia City Hall, to mark 12 years of efforts to resist the persecution, and also to support the more than 99 million Chinese people who have quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations.
Practitioners demonstrate the exercise at the rally venue
Ms. Lourdes Estremera signs a petition to call for an end to the persecution
People learn about Falun Gong and sign a petition to support practitioners' efforts to oppose the persecution
A practitioner speaks with a passerby about Falun Gong and the persecution
A practitioner speaks with a passerby about Falun Gong
Dr. Richard Weyler from Philadelphia signs a petition to support Falun Gong practitioners' efforts to resist the persecution
The temperature in Philadelphia exceeded 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), which was the highest temperature recorded in this city, but that still didn't dampen tourists' enthusiasm for visiting this major tourist attraction downtown. Despite the heat, practitioners displayed truth-clarifying photo placards, gave speeches, demonstrated the exercises, and collected signatures in support of Falun Gong, to introduce visitors to Falun Dafa's wonderfulness and expose the brutal persecution by the CCP. Many people expressed their support for practitioners' efforts to end the persecution.
To support this rally, several government officials in the Philadelphia area sent proclamations. These included Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley, Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter, Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), State Representatives Babette Josephs and Rosita C. Youngblood of Pennsylvania, and State Senator Charles T. McIlhinney, Jr. (R-10).
Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter stated in his proclamation, “We decry any regime or government anywhere that indulges in tactics of persecution and intimidation of its people and support the House of Representatives Resolution 605 which condemns such policies. On behalf of the City of Philadelphia, you have my best wishes for a peaceful and productive rally in the hope that a greater understanding of Falun Gong practice in Philadelphia will help secure freedom for those persecuted in other lands for the practice of Falun Gong.”
Congressman Robert Andrews (D-NJ) stated in his letter, “It is shocking that religious persecution on such a wide scale still exists in this day and age, so the importance of this rally cannot be overlooked. I join the adherents of Falun Gong in renouncing China's mistreatment of their fellow believers, and urge China to end its official and unofficial policies which have led to the torture, imprisonment, and killing of Falun Gong practitioners whose only crime is their deeply held religious belief.”
State Senator Charles T. McIlhinney, Jr. stated in his letter, “It is with my greatest honor that I provide my support for the July 22, 2011 Rally and for those hundreds of thousands of Falun Dafa adherents who still languish in labor camps. I think it is important for us to let the people of China know that the United States stands with them in their quest for freedom and human rights.”
Ms. Yang recounted her experience of being persecuted in China for refusing to write a guarantee statement to give up her belief in Falun Gong. Ms. Yang was arrested the second time in October 2002, and was handcuffed to a chair for 32 days. She was not released until she lost consciousness. She was later sentenced to three years in prison, where she was forced to do hard labor for 12 to 18 hours daily. She said she didn't harbor any hatred towards her persecutors, instead, she continued clarifying the facts to them. Some prisoners called her on the phone after being released to thank her, saying that because they have become aware of the facts about Falun Gong, and learned how to be a good person, they avoided doing many bad things.
A psychiatrist shared his three years of experience of practicing Falun Gong. From a doctor's perspective, he exposed the CCP's crimes of harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners and injecting practitioners with psychotropic drugs as one of the many methods to persecute practitioners. He said, “It's appalling! Such atrocities are directed by the Chinese authoritarian, but my counterparts – (Chinese) doctors – are implementing them. However, they have all vowed to help patients.”
Mr. Stamm speaks at the rally
Practitioner Mr. Stamm called upon people in Philadelphia to be broadminded and show their courage and strength, to take action to help end the brutal persecution in China soon. He cited a well-known saying from Martin Luther King, Jr., “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
Ms. Zhao from the Philadelphia Service Center for Quitting the CCP said that since 2004, the beginning of the grand tide of quitting the CCP organizations, more than 99 million Chinese people have quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations. Messages of quitting the CCP organizations can be seen everywhere in China. The quitting the CCP movement is not to engage in politics, but to lay a good foundation for an open and free China, so that the Chinese people can live in dignity in the near future.
Many tourists showed interest in Falun Gong, and expressed their support for practitioners' efforts to oppose the persecution. They signed a petition to support the introduction of Resolution 232 by both parties in the U.S. Senate. The resolution supports the Chinese people's grand tide of withdrawing from the CCP organizations and calls for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong.
Ms. Lourdes Estremera who works at Latin Christian College signed the petition to support Falun Gong practitioners. She said that Falun Gong is beneficial to everyone in the community, and asked, “Why it is not allowed to be practiced in China, and subjected to persecution?”
Mr. Lonnie Watson is a McDonald store manager. He listened to speeches at the rally for a long time. He told the reporter that he had signed the petition to support Falun Gong. He stated, “The persecution is unreasonable, and must end.” He said he would learn more about Falun Gong on the Internet.