(Minghui.org) Elected officials and community leaders gathered at Customs House Square in Sydney, Australia, on May 13 to celebrate the 22nd World Falun Dafa Day and the 70th birthday of Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of the practice.

During the activities, speakers thanked practitioners for their efforts and dedication to keep the public informed about the atrocities in China, and their contributions to human rights and peace. Some public officials issued proclamations in support of the event and reiterated their commitment to this great cause, and called on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to stop the brutalities in China. 

World Falun Dafa celebration in Sydney on May 13, 2021

At least nine officials sent congratulatory letters for the event. New South Wales Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells wrote in her letter that World Falun Dafa Day “is an important day which marks your struggles for freedom and recognition of human rights. 

“Falun Dafa has enriched the lives of millions of people around the world through gentle exercise, meditation and moral teachings that promote the values of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.

“Sadly, Falun Dafa practitioners have suffered persecution, imprisonment, torture and death at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)for the last 20 years and continue to do so because you challenge state-sponsored dictatorship and atheism with freedom and spirituality,” she continued, “You should be commended for your bravery, courage and spiritual fortitude.”

Benefits that Transcend Culture

Lucy Zhao, president of the Australian Falun Dafa Association, spoke about the popularity of the practice in China, its persecution by the CCP, and the broad support for the practice around the world.

After bringing positive changes to about 100 million practitioners in more than 100 countries, this practice has transcended all human culture and made a great contribution to society at large, she said. The surge of popularity in China was not accidental, because the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance have a deep connection with traditional Chinese culture and a civilization that was inspired by the divine.

The harm the CCP has done has gone beyond China, as has manifested from the global pandemic. During these difficult times, practitioners have continued to share the beauty of Falun Dafa and their own experiences with the practice. This has offered strength and hope for citizens to cope with the challenges. During this unprecedented era, it is even more critical for people to support freedom of belief and traditional values so that practitioners in China will be able to freely practice their faith in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. 

Legislators: Standing for the Upright

Fred Nile is a member of New South Wales Legislative Council and the leader of the Christian Democratic Party

Fred Nile, a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council and leader of the Christian Democratic Party, spoke at the gathering. He said people collectively support the principles and values of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Therefore, the persecution of practitioners by the CCP should be condemned. The arrests, detention, and organ harvesting from practitioners should not be allowed. 

Truth and compassion will benefit China and the Chinese people. He said officials in China should have generosity and sympathy for practitioners and allow them to freely practice their beliefs. 

Lyle Shelton, who will replace Fred Nile this November, said he felt honored to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day with practitioners. He, like Nile, said he supports Falun Dafa practitioners not only because of their shared values of faith and virtue, but also because they have witnessed and exposed the long-term brutalities of the CCP. 

Lyle Shelton speaks at the event 

Lyle Shelton said many people, especially politicians, were unaware of the serious threat that the CPP poses until recently. The CCP is a regime that operates under communist theories of Marxism, Leninism, and Stalinism. That is why it suppresses Falun Dafa practitioners and Christians in China, Shelton explained. Only after the pandemic started did the world recognize how vicious the CCP is. 

Shelton emphasized the importance of safeguarding faith. In particular, he thanked Falun Dafa practitioners for bringing facts and hope to the world, and for their contributions to human rights and peace. He wished practitioners all the best. 

Proclamation from Parramatta

Andrew Wilson (first from right) presented a proclamation on behalf of Parramatta City Mayor Bob Dwyer

Proclamation from the City of Parramatta

Andrew Wilson, a Parramatta city councilor, presented a proclamation from the city. 

In his speech, Wilson said he was impressed by practitioners’ strong values and dedication to freedom in China. The principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance that practitioners adhere to are universal. People who pursue religion or philosophy will agree with such an ideology. If more citizens adhered to these principles, our society would improve. 

He added that the suppression of Falun Dafa by the CCP is shortsighted and foolish. The persecution will end sooner or later, and the CCP will not last long either. 

In the end, Wilson said he sincerely wished Mr. Li a Happy Birthday. He also wished blessings to peaceful Falun Dafa practitioners. 

Lawyer: Supporting Freedom of Belief

Sophie York, lawyer, and writer, said she was happy to attend such an event to celebrate Falun Dafa and the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Moreover, she respects people who follow their faith. 

Sophie York speaks at the gathering

York said a government’s role is to protect people, but since 1999 the CCP had been suppressing Falun Dafa and treating citizens as criminals. The only reason for this persecution was that these practitioners refused to follow the CCP’s atheism – a soulless, doomed ideology. 

York wished practitioners well and said she would continue fighting for practitioners’ freedom of belief and for their safety. 

Ganesh Loke is a former federal election candidate

Ganesh Loke, entrepreneur and former federal election candidate, said anyone who doubted the CCP’s harm could see the reality through the pandemic’s harm in Australia, the United States, India, and the world. People should be clear-minded and oppose the regime and its bloody hands. 

Loke said everyone should have freedom, human rights, and choice of faith. He stands with Falun Dafa practitioners against the CCP’s brutality. He also hoped the Australian Government could join the efforts and bring the atrocities in China to an end. 

Community Leader: Benefiting the Society

Community leader Indu Harikrishna

Indu Harikrishna, chairperson for one of the largest community organizations in Sydney, said she was pleased to celebrate Falun Dafa Day with practitioners

Falun Dafa could help citizens around the world improve their health, purify their minds, uplift their moral values, and enhance their understandings of life, she explained. She thanked practitioners for sharing the beauty of Falun Dafa with the community and providing free exercise instruction. This has helped individuals, organizations, businesses, clubs, and schools to understand the practice better. This practice improves people’s minds and bodies and benefits all of society. 

Passersby: Time to Stop the Persecution

Pedestrian Katy Bonello said that this was the first time she had heard about the CCP's organ harvesting. She said it is a tragedy that practitioners have been mistreated so badly for their beliefs. 

She admired practitioners’ courage in the face of these brutalities and thanked practitioners for raising awareness of the persecution. Their efforts could help more people step forward to stop the crimes. 

Anderson Farreiran is interested in martial arts and meditation. He said he liked the gentle exercises practitioners were doing and it had strong energy. 

After hearing about the arbitrary detention and torture practitioners have suffered in China, he said every country should join together to end the human rights violations. 

“Our society needs Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” he continued, “That is why events like this really help. I will tell this to my friends and family. Have a Happy Falun Dafa Day!”

Chinese version available

Category: Dafa Day Recognition