(Minghui.org) Falun Dafa practitioners in San Diego, California held activities at the end of May to commemorate the 19th anniversary of a peaceful protest in Beijing on April 25 and raise awareness of the continued persecution of Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) in China.

Westerner Practitioner Learned Falun Dafa Because of April 25 Protest

Nineteen years ago, on April 25, 1999, the world witnessed 10,000 Falun Dafa practitioners quietly protesting in Beijing for the right to practice their belief. Such a large-scale, spontaneous assembly was unheard of in communist China, and the press noted the demonstrators’ calm and peacefulness.

The government initially responded favorably, but just three months later, a brutal persecution of Falun Dafa was unleashed by then-head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Jiang Zemin. The persecution continues to this day.

Falun Dafa practitioner Mark Matthew said that he was watching the news on TV when he saw the protest in Beijing. From the solemn facial expressions of the Falun Dafa practitioners, he sensed it was abnormal. Having seen the Chinese Communist Party suppressing other innocent groups, he decided to learn more about Falun Dafa and later took up the practice himself.

Group Exercises at USS Midway Museum

Practitioners demonstrated the Falun Dafa exercises in a group on April 21. Tourists, many from China, took photos and video of the peaceful scene.

Falun Dafa practitioners demonstrate the exercises on April 21 at the USS Midway Museum.

Tourists sign petitions calling to stop the persecution of Falun Gong in China.

Passersby learned the Falun Dafa exercises near the USS Midway Museum.

Mei, a practitioner comes to the park often, said the purpose of her volunteering is to let Chinese tourists see what they cannot see in their home country. “Many Chinese tourists come here. They don't know the facts and the persecution of Falun Gong, and they don't know the true story of the April 25 peaceful protest,” Mei added.

A Chinese tour guide told her that it was a political action for the April 25 protesters to surround Zhongnanhai, the central government compound. After a practitioner who participated in the April 25 protest explained it to him, he understood and no longer prevents his tour group from approaching the practitioners.

Eva is a tourist from Chengdu, China. “This can’t be seen in China. I came for a tour but also learned about Falun Gong. It’s not like the Chinese government propaganda. Falun Gong is actually pretty good,” she said.

Art Exhibition Held at UCSD

The Falun Dafa club at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) hosted the Zhen-Shan-Ren (Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance) International Art Exhibition” on April 24.

Zhen-Shan-Ren International Art Exhibition at UCSD

A Chinese-American art major looked at each painting carefully. He said he had little knowledge of Falun Dafa before but learned more from the artwork. “It’s rare to see paintings like these nowadays. I have a lot of respect for these artworks,” he added.

Chinese students took the chance to talk to Falun Dafa practitioners, and some of them signed a petition calling for an end to the persecution in China.

The art exhibition continued in Balboa Park on April 28.