(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners from Wellington, New Zealand, participated in the Wellington Santa Parade on December 10 as part of the Capital City's annual holiday festivities – A Very Welly Christmas 2016. Falun Gong's Tian Guo Marching Band, the largest Chinese band in New Zealand, was warmly welcomed by spectators out to enjoy the holiday cheer.

The Tian Guo Marching Band takes part in the Wellington Santa Parade.

A family of musicians from Invercargill were excited to see the band's performance. Joanna, wife and singer, said the balance between the instruments was smooth, and the music was very moving. She said that her son Alex, a bass guitar player, could definitely learn something from this band.

"It would be great if I could play with them,” Alex agreed.

Dave, the husband, was interested in the traditional Chinese thinking about the function of music—that good music can purify mind and body and can even heal illness.

Dave, his wife Joanna, and their son Alex were moved by the Tian Guo Marching Band's performance.

Sandra remarked that the Tian Guo Band reminded her of warriors from ancient times. She thanked the practitioners for bringing traditional Chinese culture to Wellington.

Many parade spectators had already heard about the long-standing persecution of Falun Gong in China. A number of them expressed their support for practitioners' peaceful resistance and encouraged them to keep up the good work.

Ian Bonallack welcomed the band and had words of encouragement for the practitioners: “The persecution is terrible, but it will end soon.”

New Zealand Outreach

The traditional Chinese spiritual discipline of Falun Gong is no stranger to the people of New Zealand. Local Falun Gong practitioners have held many activities to share the benefits of the practice and to raise awareness of the brutal 17-year persecution of the practice in China.

The most recent large scale event was the SOS Car Tour, which ran from October 3 to November 25, 2016. With the goal of exposing China's state-sanctioned organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience, Falun Gong practitioners visited 49 cities throughout New Zealand.

Practitioners demonstrate the Falun Gong exercises in Nelson during the car tour to raise awareness of the forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience in China.

The car tour stops in Blenheim.

Local media provided a great deal of coverage of the event, with many front-page stories.

The Manawatu Guardian, the largest community newspaper in the Manawatu-Wanganui area, told the story of Falun Gong practitioner Chen Xiaojun in an article titled “Tour for China's Illegal Organ Trade.”

Chen was jailed in Guangdong, China for eight years, where he was severely tortured. He witnessed the disappearance of several of his fellow practitioners, who have never been heard from since they went missing. Chen suspects that they were killed for their organs.

The editor of the Manawatu Guardian, Alecia Rousseau, said that her newspaper will keep the public informed about the persecution and the forced organ harvesting, and will urge the New Zealand government to help take action to stop it.

The Te Awamutu Courier published a heartbreaking report titled “Escaping Torture,” recounting how practitioner Huang Guohua's wife, who was three months pregnant, was tortured to death 14 days after being arrested for upholding her belief.

The Stratford Press dedicated a whole page to the car tour. The article titled “Going Public on China Torture” analyzed the reasons why the former head of the Chinese Communist Party Jiang Zemin launched the persecution of this peaceful spiritual group.

Other media, including the Manawatu-Standard, The Northland Age, The Southland Times, and The Ensign introduced the practice of Falun Gong and covered the persecution and the forced organ harvesting.

Related article in Chinese