San Francisco, California: Group Practice and Candlelight Vigil with 3,000 Falun Gong Practitioners
(Minghui.org) About 3,000 Falun Gong practitioners from across the world performed the Falun Gong exercises on United Nations Plaza in San Francisco, California on the morning of October 22, 2016. In the evening they held a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate, mourning the deaths of practitioners who lost their lives in the persecution in China. The huge scenes of group practice and the candelight vigil drew the attention of passersby.
Group exercise practice of about 3,000 Falun Gong practitioners of different races and ethnicities on UN Plaza on the morning of October 22, 2016.
The sight of such a large group of people of different races, ages and ethnicities practicing the graceful exercises made an impression on passersby.
Suniva, who works for a communication company, said, “I first encountered Falun Gong about two years ago. But this is my first time to see such a large scale group practice.” She smiled and said she felt very comfortable near them and commented that she should join them.
Mike, a government employee, watched the group practice. He said he knew that practitioners were peaceful, law-abiding people. He added that the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) state-sanctioned organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners could not be tolerated. “Those perpetrators must be brought to justice,” he said.
Computer engineer Martin from Sweden.
Martin, a computer engineer from Sweden, was in San Francisco to attend a conference. As he passed by UN Plaza he saw the group practice and stopped to watch for a while. He took photos with his smartphone and said that from reading media reports and on the internet, he knows that Falun Gong is beneficial to health. He said that it felt great to see so many people practicing the exercises together.
On the evening of October 22, about 2,000 practitioners held a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate to commemorate fellow practitioners who died due to the CCP's persecution. The vigil was also a peaceful protest against the CCP's persecution and a call to help stop it.
Falun Gong practitioners hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco on the evening of October 22, 2016.
Candlelight vigil to commemorate Falun Gong practitioners in China who died due to the persecution.
Laurie Gorham of the hosting organization said in her speech, “For 17 years, former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin and his followers have exerted unimaginable pain to the Falun Gong practitioners who hold their belief steadfast. Countless families have been broken. Hundreds of thousands of practitioners are persecuted. There are many documented tortures in the persecution.”
She also talked about the CCP's killing of practitioners for organs, noting that such brutality is an unprecedented evil on this planet.
Local Resident Moved to Tears
Local resident Celeste wept upon learning about the brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
The candlelight vigil drew the attention of many passersby, who paused to learn about the event.
Celeste, who lives nearby and has often seen practitioners peacefully protesting at the consulate, said with tears in her eyes, “Every time I see this I cry. No matter how many times I walk by here, I see and feel the pain that everybody's gone through. There are no words in the English language to describe the horror, the terror and pain [that practitioners have suffered].”
She said that the CCP's brutality was ongoing, but many countries have not stepped forward to call for an end to it.
Celeste said she would pray for the practitioners and added, “Tonight I'm going to light a candle and I'm going to spread the word in my neighborhood.”
Undergraduate student Paul Marquez and his companion Cameron Seaton.
Undergraduate student Paul Marquez and his companion Cameron Seaton said they had not heard of Falun Gong before. After learning about the CCP's persecution, Paul said the CCP's live organ harvesting for profit was horrible.
He thought that this peaceful event in San Francisco would draw people's attention, and added that the CCP's atrocity should not occur and must be stopped.
Many Chinese People in Chinatown Support Falun Gong
Earlier in the day, the grand march of over 4,000 Falun Gong practitioners ended at Portsmouth Square, Chinatown. Many Chinese people watched the march and expressed their support.
Large posters with information about Falun Gong on Portsmouth Square, Chinatown.
Mr. Lin has been in the U.S. for over 30 years. He said, “Everyone should have freedom of belief. I support you. Keep up the good work!”
He then pointed at the poster emblazoned with “Bring Jiang Zemin to Justice” and said, “He must be brought to justice! Falun Gong is good. Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.”