(Minghui.org) Nearly 100 elected officials in New York sent greetings last month to congratulate the 17th World Falun Dafa Day on May 13, which celebrates the anniversary of the public introduction of the meditation practice. This date also coincides with the birthday of Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa.

Levi Browde, director of the Falun Dafa Information Center, said practitioners worldwide celebrate this special occasion because they have benefited from the meditation practice that was introduced to the public in 1992. “About 9,000 practitioners from 53 countries gathered here in New York City for a series of activities between May 11 and 15.”

He said the gathering will be larger next year, because “more and more people are joining the meditation that improves mind and body.”

Greetings from U.S. House of Representatives

Ten members from the House of Representatives sent greetings and proclamations to congratulate World Falun Dafa Day.

Ten federal representatives sent greetings to honor Falun Dafa in May. They are (from left to right, top row to bottom row): Zeldin Lee (1st district), Nydia Velázquez (7th district), Hakeem Jeffries (8th district), Yvett Clarke (9th district), Daniel Donovan (11th district), Charles Rangle (13th district), Chris Gibson (19th district), Paul Tonko (20th district), Elise Stefanik (21th district), and Louise Slaughter (25th district).

Greetings from Lee M. Zeldin, U.S. Congressman who represents New York's 1st congressional district

Greetings from Chris Gibson, U.S. Representative for New York's 19th congressional district

Elise Stefanik, U.S. Representative of New York's 21st congressional Ddistrict, congratulates World Falun Dafa Day.

Nydia Velazquez, representative for New York's 7th congressional district, wrote, “Since its introduction in 1992, Falun Dafa's principles of Truthfulness Compassion Tolerance and the gentle exercises have helped millions of people improve their health and strive to attain a higher goal of a peaceful and compassionate world.”

Hakeem Jeffries representing New York's 8th congressional district, wrote, “I am pleased to have this opportunity to acknowledge your founder and spiritual leader, Mr. Li Hongzhi, along with your practitioners and supporters from all around the world for their exemplary leadership.”

“As it has spread worldwide, Falun Dafa has taught millions of people of all backgrounds about ancient Chinese values and spiritual traditions,” wrote Daniel Donovan, U.S. Representative for New York's 11th congressional district.

“... today Falun Dafa is practiced and cherished by millions of people in more than 114 countries and have received numerous awards and recognitions worldwide,” wrote proclamation from Yvette Clarke, representative for New York's 9th congressional district.

In his proclamation, U.S. Representative for New York's 13th congressional district Charles Rangle wrote, “When Falun Gong practitioners were faced with the overwhelming persecution launched in July 1999, they had to choose whether to ignore their conscience, or stand by their dignity... They have persevered through 15 years of persecution and helped more Chinese realize the value of dignity and compassion, and to have faith again in what is good.”

Louise Slaughter, U.S. representative for New York's 25th congressional district, wrote, “Under the principles of kindness, thoughtfulness, and goodness, the transformative message of practicing holistic wellness is truly remarkable.”

Brutal Persecution Continues

The Chinese Communist Party began to suppress Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) in July 1999. The persecution, under which practitioners are systematically arrested, imprisoned, and even tortured for refusing to renounce their faith, continues to today.

Hu Zhiming, 44, a former Major in the Chinese People Liberation Army Air Force, were arrested three times between 1999 and 2005 for his belief, which led to 8 years of imprisonment in total. “At the Tilanqiao Prison in Shanghai, guards deprived me of sleep and access to the toilet. They tied me up on a wooden bed for more than a month and force-fed me unknown drugs.”

Hu Zhiming (right), former PLA Air Force officer, shares what he went through in China during an event last month.

Quigley, vice president of an insurance company in New York, said this was the first time he had heard about the atrocity. “I support you, and I think more people need to know this,” he commented before taking handouts to share with his friends.

Passersby learn about Falun Gong and the suppression in China.

Zhang, a new immigrant from China, said he learned a lot from the event from Falun Gong practitioners. “Back in China, I didn't know practitioners suffer so much for their belief, let alone forced organ harvesting,” she said, referring to the state-sanctioned killing of practitioners in China to sell their organs for profit.

Eric Bymel, an Israelian psychologist visiting New York, said he is aware of the suppression in China. He said he also knows that more than 200,000 criminal complaints have been filed against former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin for launching the violent persecution of Falun Gong.

Eric Bymel, a psychologist from Israel, supports Falun Gong practitioners.

“This is the right thing to do,” Bymel added, “because Jiang deserves it.”