(Minghui.org) Continued from Part 1
The founder of Falun Dafa, Master Li Hongzhi, whom practitioners call Master, introduced Falun Dafa to the public on May 13, 1992. He held several series of seminars throughout China, including in Guangdong Province. People attending the seminars experienced fundamental changes in their character and improvement in their health after attending the seminars and practicing Falun Dafa.
People who benefited from practicing Dafa and attending the lectures introduced the practice to their family, relatives, friends, and acquaintances. By word-of-mouth, Falun Dafa spread from 1 to 10, from 10 to 100, and from 100 to 1,000 people in a very short time.
Mr. Zhang Mengyue volunteered to organize groups to study the Falun Dafa books and do the group exercises. He was made the head of the Tianhe District Falun Dafa Assistant Center, and he used his summer break to introduce Falun Dafa in the mountain areas of Heyuan City.
Guangdong practitioners held a monthly group exercise and Fa study in the Tianhe Sports Center, starting in 1995. About 3,000 practitioners attended the activity each month, and the Guangdong Television Station reported on the event in its Public Health Activity broadcast.
The number of practitioners increased significantly within a relatively short period of time. Before 1994, about 2,300 people attended Master Li's lectures and learned the exercises. Statistics published by the State Sports Commission showed that in 1998, around 200,000 people went to the exercise sites to practice Falun Dafa in Guangdong Province—and the number only increased. However, the exact number was not known, because some people did the exercises at home.
The Hong Kong Newspaper Sing Tao Daily published a special report on August 23, 1998, titled “Health and Fitness Activities for People in Guangzhou.” All the photos in the article were of Falun Dafa practitioners.
The Shenzhen Special Zone's Times published a report with photos on September 1, 1998, titled “Nationwide Fitness Activities Beneficial to the Country and People – Report on Morning Exercise Activities on the People's Square in Shantou City,” which reported positively on Falun Dafa exercises.
The Hong Kong Shenxing Times published an article with photos on October 2, 1998, titled “Falun Dafa Grows Quietly in Shenzhen—1,600 People Did Falun Dafa Exercises in the Park Yesterday.”
Staff from the City Chase program of the Hong Kong TV station TVB Jade came to Guangzhou in October 1998 to film practitioners doing the exercises in the Tianhe Sports Center. They also interviewed practitioners from military units, universities, government departments, and local residents. They also went to the People's Park, Martyrs Mausoleum Park, and the Dongjun Square to report on the morning and evening Falun Dafa exercise activities.
The Guangzhou Yangcheng Evening News published a report with photos on its third page on November 10, 1998, titled “Even the Young and Old Practice Falun Dafa.”
The Shenzhen Shenxing Times published a series of reports on “Hot Topic—Falun Dafa,” on December 31, 1998.
In summary, the report stated that Falun Dafa began to spread in Shenzhen in 1994. The founder of Falun Dafa, Mr. Li Hongzhi, gave lectures and taught the exercises in Guangzhou five times between April 1993 and December 1994.
The article stated that the health of those who attended Mr. Li's lectures improved; therefore, these people passionately introduced the practice to their friends and relatives. The first Dafa exercise site, which started with 14 people, was established at Lizhi Park. However, by 1998 there were 68 practice sites and over 3,000 practitioners across the city's five districts.
The head of the exercise sites organized practitioners to read Dafa books and do the exercises. Everything was (and still is) free of charge, with a loose management, no administration, and maintained by volunteers among practitioners.
The article advised of the meeting times and spoke of people being well-organized without being told what to do, and how people were of good character and made sure to clean up after themselves before going home.
This series of reports also reported on Falun Dafa practitioners at Shenzhen University. It stated that 30 practitioners were senior intellectuals and students who had learned the practice from their colleagues and classmates.
Falun Dafa was spread far and wide during its initial years in China. Moreover, many media at the county level reported about Falun Dafa.
Before the onset of the persecution in 1999, Falun Dafa was the largest group in the park of Zhongtong Town in Dongguan City. Further, the Zhongtang Town Television Station made sure to report on the practitioners' morning exercises.
(To be continued)