(Minghui.org) A grand march through the heart of San Francisco on July 14th marked 19 years of peaceful resistance to the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
The march stepped off from San Francisco City Hall, passed by Union Square, and ended at Chinatown. According to event organizer Ms. Zhang Hong, the purpose of the march was to introduce the peaceful mind-body cultivation practice of Falun Gong and also to raise awareness of the ongoing brutal persecution of the practice in China by the communist regime.
Cornelia Ritter first heard of Falun Gong when reading a news article at the Tibetan Library in Dharamsala, India. She later read more about Falun Gong at a Tibetan restaurant in Ladakh, India. She had searched for many years for a cultivation method that could truly help her improve physically and spiritually. In 2008, as part of her search, she had traveled to India where she lived for more than a year.
Ms. Ritter said that as soon as she started doing the Falun Gong exercises, she sensed a pure energy field surrounding her body. She also felt black substances falling away from her body. “I know this was the cultivation method I had been looking for!”
In her spare time, she goes to Chinatown to raise awareness of the persecution, and she took part in the march for the same reason. “As a Falun Gong practitioner, I joined the event in hopes of letting the world know that the persecution of Falun Gong is still going on in China. Practitioners die as a result of the persecution. We should all do what we can to end this persecution.”
Ms. Li Huimei's migraine and lower back issues disappeared shortly after she took up the practice of Falun Gong.
She took part in the June 14 march because she wants more Chinese people to know about the persecution in China: “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) turns good to bad with the lies of its propaganda. A lot of Chinese have been fooled and don't know that Falun Gong is a righteous belief. We are trying to inform them of the facts, help them see the true colors of the CCP, and become free of its control by quitting the CCP and its affiliated organizations.”
Ms. Li also shared how Falun Gong benefited her beyond just physical health. Her life became simpler after she learned through Falun Gong that she should think of others first. She performs her job well and doesn't contend for personal gain. Practicing Falun Gong also helped her stop fighting with her husband over trifles. Her family life has become much more harmonious as a result.
Ms. Liu is a mother of three. Through the recommendation of a relative, she began to practice Falun Gong in 1995 while still in China. After the persecution started in 1999, Ms. Liu was incarcerated in labor camps three times, where she was subjected to brainwashing attempts, severe beatings, held in an iron cage, and injected with unknown psychiatric drugs. She weighed only about 90 pounds when she was released in 2005 and couldn't walk on her own.
“The persecution of Falun Gong doesn't just harm Falun Gong practitioners. It is a persecution of all people in China,” said Ms. Liu. “Our event today also exposes the evil of the CCP.”
Raquel Brown from Los Angeles came across the march while in San Francisco for the weekend. She stopped to watch upon hearing the music of the Tian Guo Marching Band, composed entirely of Falun Gong practitioners. Ms. Brown said that she was stunned to learn that the severity of the persecution was far more horrible than what she had initially thought. She commended practitioners' efforts to expose the persecution. “You are doing a great job. We should help more people know about the persecution in China. I support you,” she said.
Melody from Canada had not heard of Falun Gong prior to seeing the San Francisco march. She expressed admiration for Falun Gong practitioners' persistence in resisting the persecution in such a peaceful way. She said she noticed the peaceful energy of the march and supported Falun Gong's values of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Irish tourists Katie and Steven were shocked to learn about the CCP's killing prisoners of conscience on demand to extract their organs for transplant surgeries. They decried the CCP forcibly harvesting organs of Falun Gong practitioners and the illicit profit made from the crimes.
San Francisco resident Nancy Harris endorsed the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and added that “it pains my heart” to hear about the organ harvesting of practitioners. “You are doing the right thing to let people know about these crimes. The more people know about it, the more will step forward to end the persecution.”
Another San Francisco resident, Peter supported freedom of belief for Falun Gong practitioners: “I hope the situation in China will change. This is a big deal; we should help more Americans know what is going on in China.”