(Minghui.org) Between August 6 and 13, 2021, Falun Gong practitioners organized a series of signature drives in the Slovak cities of Banská Bystrica, Ružomberok, Martin, Žilina, Trenčín, and Trnava. They aimed to raise awareness of human rights violations in China, where Falun Gong has been brutally persecuted since 1999.

These events enabled locals to see the Falun Gong exercises and to learn about the persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese communist regime. Many people signed the petition calling for an end to the atrocities still taking place in China.

One of the organizers of the petition drive, Dorotka, a high school student, said, “We usually do these events in Bratislava (the capital of Slovakia), but this way all of us from Slovakia can meet together over the summer and we can reach out to people not only from Bratislava but also from other cities.”

Another organizer, Peter, a lawyer, said, “I’m doing this so that people all over Slovakia have the opportunity to speak out in support of people who are persecuted in China. I think it’s important, even though China is at first glance a distant country from us, but because the world is so global and interconnected and China is a big player, it affects our lives all over the world. So I think it is important that we stand up for those people who are being persecuted there, because if we don’t stand up for them, then maybe nobody will stand up for us when they persecute us.”

He added, “It’s important that we all speak out and I think it’s also a basic requirement of humanity that we don’t just pass these things by in silence.”

Public reaction to the events has been mostly positive. Many people did not know what is happening in China or about Falun Gong, but after they learned about the situation, they wanted to help in some way. Many expressed their support for Falun Gong and thanked the practitioners for organizing the events.

Petition drive in Zilina to raise awareness of the persecution of Falun Gong in China

In Žilina, one passerby promised to bring her colleagues after signing the petition. Later, she stopped by with two people, a man and a woman, who both signed the petition.

The woman on the left, who signed the petition and received a lotus flower, talks with a practitioner (right)

Ms. Veronika also stopped by and spoke about how the communist regime persecuted her family. She signed the petition and said, referring to the crimes committed by communist regimes, “It is important to talk about it.”

Petition event in Ruzomberok

The practitioners noticed that in smaller towns like Ruzomberok, people have simpler and clearer thinking and don’t need things to be explained in as much depth. In bigger cities, people know more about what’s going on in the world, but they have a more complex mindset, so things have to be explained in more depth. They have also noticed that people from abroad are often more open-minded, perhaps because they have more appreciation for being in another country.

In the context of the coronavirus, the practitioners felt that people are more aware that freedom is something to be fought for and valued, both for the people of Slovakia and for others.

Peter summed up his thoughts about the recent petition drive. “It has encouraged me, in that we need to continue with such actions,” he said, “whether they are smaller or bigger, in Bratislava or in other cities, because it makes sense, even if it is difficult. When we see the positive reaction of people and the overall impact, which I think is very good, I think it is something to continue and to persevere in, and I think it is important to persevere until the end. Not just to say to yourself, now it’s hard, now we’re going to relax, but to keep trying to do it until the very end, until the persecution is over.”

Dorotka said practitioners are planning to hold a similar series of petition events in Eastern Slovakia next year.

Category: Parades & Other Community Events