(Minghui.org) David still remembers those days when the persecution started in July 1999, “My first reaction was surprise—how could a government say no to a self-improvement system that benefits the minds and bodies of tens of millions of people?” Like other practitioners in Tsinghua University and throughout China, he visited government offices and wrote letters to government officials, hoping to rectify the decision.

What followed were arrest, detention, and torture… After four years of imprisonment and physical abuse, he fled to Australia, where he continued to practice his belief, and spoke up for those still being mistreated in China.

During the July 18-19, 2014 event in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, Australia, practitioners held banners and posters to inform the public about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China that has now gone on for 15 years.

Practitioners held an event at Brisbane, Australia, on July 18-19, to raise awareness of the persecution.

“The Persecution Is Absolutely Wrong”

When Andrew, a young Australian, passed by Brisbane Square and saw the posters, he was astonished. After reading each one in detail, he said to a Minghui correspondent, “I can't find any reason why this should be suppressed. The persecution is absolutely wrong. The severity of the mistreatment is beyond my imagination.”

Louis Croart talked with practitioners for a long time. He said, “This situation must change, because people should not be mistreated for improving their minds and bodies through peaceful meditation. They [practitioners] did not do anything wrong and should not be punished.” He also hopes the government of Australia will pass laws banning organ transplants in Australia that use organs harvested from living practitioners.

An elderly immigrant from China was also surprised to see the extent of the cruelty, “This is so awful!” Based on his experience, he believed that many people could not see through the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) tactics, and were thus deceived by its propaganda.

“Chinese people need access to uncensored information, so that they can find out what the world is really like and know the truth,” he said.

David said he was glad to see so many people were supportive, “We practitioners just want to improve our minds and bodies. We have no political agenda. That is probably why 15 years of suppression has failed to defeat Falun Gong, and has only made it stronger. After all, suppressing what is right has never succeeded.”

Passersby sign petitions calling for an end to the human rights violations.

Member of Parliament in Tears

After the CCP began to suppress Falun Gong, practitioners in China were detained and their families ripped apart. Chinese practitioners outside of China then started to contact their local officials, seeking help from the governments of their adopted countries.

Ms. Zhao, an instructor at the University of Southern Queensland, was one of them. “I began to practice Falun Gong in 1996. Many of us have witnessed the benefits and were very upset by the massive crackdown. Plus, the propaganda against Falun Gong by the CCP was defamatory and vicious.”

Without knowing what to do, Ms. Zhao and other practitioners visited the office of a Parliament Member, who was moved to tears after hearing practitioners’ recount the severe torture they had suffered for their belief. The Parliament Member said, “Thank you for telling me this. We did not know the situation was this bad. I will call the Foreign Minister’s office this afternoon about this.

“We all support you,” he continued. “People should not be mistreated for their belief.”

Ms. Zhao has been telling people about the persecution for the past 15 years. “This is a severe violation of basic human rights. Everyone should know about this important matter. Although the persecution targets Falun Gong practitioners, the nature of the suppression—depriving people of their freedom of belief as well as traditional values, such Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance—is a threat to all of mankind,” she explained.

Western practitioner John Dowie agreed with Ms. Zhao, “I first heard about the crackdown from the radio and I could not believe it. How could a government treat a group of peaceful people like that? At that time, I had already been practicing for a while, so I knew Falun Gong did not ask for money, and it only aims to help people improve their mind and body.

“Fifteen years have passed and the atrocity still continues," Dowie added. "Very often I think this is a test for each one of us. When something like this happens that undermines traditional values and the common good, should we ignore it or should we do our part to tell more people about it to raise awareness to stop the brutality?”