Pennsylvania: Recognizing World Falun Dafa Day in Philadelphia
(Minghui.org) “We are here next to the Liberty Bell today to share our joy of practicing Falun Dafa. We are also raising awareness of those practitioners in China who are being persecuted for their beliefs—their voices have been smothered over the last 16 years,” said a young woman on May 23, 2015, on the lawn in front of Independence National Historical Park.
The young woman, named Jenny, is a medical school graduate from China who has worked at a Philadelphia hospital. Behind her were dozens of Falun Dafa practitioners, most dressed in yellow shirts, seated in meditation.
“We are all from the Greater Philadelphia Area and come here to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day, a special occasion that commemorates May 13, 1992, when Falun Dafa was first introduced in China,” explained Alex, one of the organizers of the event.
Jenny told how people she knew were arrested, detained, and severely tortured during the persecution that started back in 1999. “One of them was my mother's friend. Inside the Shandong Women's Prison, the guards subjected her to both physical torture and mental abuse in attempts to force her to give up her belief.” Despite such cruelty, she never compromised her faith.
Unfortunately this practitioner died shortly after being released from the prison, as a result of the mistreatment.
From the age of 11, Jenny learned to cherish the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance as she developed as a Falun Dafa practitioner with her mother.
“We live in a society driven by material gain. Moral issues are often neglected. Falun Dafa's principles bring us inner peace, which, in turn, is reflected in how we interact with others. That's why we really cherish this practice.”
Despite the physical and mental benefits millions gained from this practice, Falun Dafa has been the target of suppression in China. “The more people that are aware of this and say no to the Chinese Communist Party, the sooner this brutal persecution will come to an end.”
Passerby: “Isn't It a Good Thing to Be a Better Person?”
Passersby stopped to read about the brutality of the persecution. Some were quite shocked to learn about the communist regime's killing practitioners for their organs.
“Everyone should have the freedom of belief. After all, isn't it a good thing to be a better person following these principles?” said Saeed Kesharii from Iran, who works at a university in Philadelphia. He signed a petition that calls for an end to the persecution.
Sherry Sean, who works in a local hospital, said she had practiced yoga for many years. “I felt a strong energy field when I stopped by to watch them [practitioners] doing the exercises.” After hearing about the persecution in China, she looked perplexed, “I cannot imagine why someone would ban such a peaceful meditation, especially because it offers so many physical and spiritual benefits.”
Many tourists in the area that day learned about Falun Dafa for the first time. Karen and Kathy, both from South Korea and currently living in New York, pointed to a poster and asked a practitioner, “What's going on here? Why is she being tortured?” After being given an explanation, they signed the petition to stop the persecution.
Jared from Washington D.C. said he had heard about Falun Dafa and the persecution in college. “I did not know the human rights violations in China were this bad. And the fact that it targets a group of practitioners doing peaceful meditation is disturbing.”
With a keen interest in Chinese culture, Jared lived in Taiwan for two years and speaks fluent Chinese.
Drawn by the gentle movements, many passerby joined the group to learn the exercises.
“I Am Here for You”
Through consistent efforts to raise awareness of the persecution in China, including organ harvesting from living practitioners, many U.S. government agencies and organizations have started to pay close attention to the severe human rights violations being perpetrated in today's China.
One example is House Resolution 1052, passed by the General Assembly of Pennsylvania in October 2014. It condemned the persecution, especially live organ harvesting, and encouraged the medical community to help raise awareness of this unethical matter. In addition, it called upon the United States government for a full investigation and to “prohibit any doctors involved in unethical organ procurement or transplantation surgery using organs harvested from living prisoners in China from gaining entry into the United States.”
Back in China, however, millions of Chinese have been inundated with slanderous reports perpetuated by the Chinese regime, which attempt to demonize Falun Dafa, influencing people not to care not about the suffering of Falun Dafa practitioners.
Ms. Guan, a Falun Dafa practitioner and volunteer said: “Many tourists asked me why I spend my time telling them about this. I simply tell them, 'I am here for you, and for your future. It's for your wellbeing.'”
Over 200 million Chinese people have quit the communist party organizations. They have made the move to separate themselves from the entity that is the Chinese Communist Party, a regime which kills at will. During the event at the Liberty Bell, more than 20 Chinese quit the Chinese communist organizations after Ms. Guan talked with them about the consequences of blindly following the Party.
“The communists have expanded their influence overseas, including here in the United States,” said Joseph Neary, who traveled from Virginia with his wife to visit their son in Philadelphia. He said that, because of communism, the only way to end such catastrophes is to end communism.
“People should have the right to believe.” Facing Independence Hall less than half a block away on Chestnut Street, where the Declaration of Independence was drafted more than 230 years ago, Neary, a passerby, stated: “As long as the Communist party is there, you will be persecuted.”