Los Angeles, San Diego and Atlanta: Candlelight Vigils and Events Held to Mark the 20-Year-Long Persecution in China
(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners around the world held events to commemorate the practitioners who died as a result of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution. This year is especially significant; 2019 marks 20 years since Jiang Zemin, former head of the communist regime, ordered the brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners on July 20, 1999. Falun Gong is a peaceful mind-body cultivation practice based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.
The Minghui website has confirmed the deaths of over four thousand Falun Gong practitioners due to the persecution over the past 20 years. However, the actual number is suspected to be much higher. More have been imprisoned and tortured for their faith. There is concrete evidence that the CCP is an active participant in the harvesting of organs from detained practitioners, who are murdered to supply the organ transplant industry.
Rally and Candlelight Vigil in Los Angeles
Falun Gong practitioners held banners and lined several streets in downtown Los Angeles on July 19. They also held a candlelight vigil that evening. As part of the weekend's events, they did the exercises at Santa Monica Beach Park on July 21. Many tourists stopped to learn about Falun Gong and the persecution. Many were appalled by the persecution and signed a petition calling for its end.
Falun Gong practitioners held a group practice at Santa Monica Beach Park on July 21, 2019.Several curious passers-by stop to watch practitioners and read the posters.People learned about Falun Gong and signed the petition which protests the persecution.
Candlelight Vigil in San Diego
As part of the day long events, Falun Gong practitioners from San Diego demonstrated the exercises, displayed artwork by Falun Dafa practitioners, displayed informational posters and held a candlelight vigil at the famed La Jolla Beach on July 20, 2019.
Maria Skidmore, an admirer of Chinese martial arts and qigong, was drawn to the Falun Gong practitioners' exercise demonstration. She said that meditation really calms people and helps them to be healthy.
She said she read the posters and learned about the verdict of the China Tribunal in London, that the CCP has been conducting live organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience on a large scale, and that Falun Gong practitioners are likely the main source of organs. She was shocked and saddened by this.
She said, “The approach Falun Gong practitioners use is the best way to end this persecution.” She took several photos and said she would post them on her social media.
The practitioners held a candlelight vigil at dusk to commemorate the practitioners who lost their lives in the CCP’s persecution.
Talking to People about the Persecution at Stone Mountain
Stone Mountain is one of Georgia's historic sites and a popular tourist attraction. Falun Gong practitioners from Atlanta gathered there on July 20, 2019 to commemorate those who died during the persecution.
It was beautiful sunny day and the site was crowded. Many people paused to read the practitioners’ informational posters. Some asked for more information and several signed the petition condemning the persecution.
Surie Rai, a tourist from Nepal, learned about the persecution during the event at Stone Mountain. He said, “I've heard of Falun Gong before. Falun Gong is a way to help people improve their health and morality, but the CCP is persecuting practitioners.”
When he was told that the persecution has gone on for 20 years, he was surprised and said, “I know that this is a spiritual belief. People should have the freedom of belief and be free to practice it. Falun Gong practitioners should have such a freedom in China.”