(Minghui.org) Approximately 2,000 Falun Dafa practitioners held a parade in Washington D.C. on the afternoon of July 21 to protest the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 23-year-long persecution. They called for an immediate end to the CCP’s brutality.

The temperature in Washington D.C. that day was over 90ºF. Despite the sweltering heat, practitioners set off from 3rd Street near Capitol Hill. They marched along Pennsylvania Avenue, and passed several federal government buildings, including the U.S. Department of Justice, and some foreign embassies in the U.S., and reached their destination, Freedom Plaza. The entire route was one mile long.

Practitioners held a grand parade on July 21, 2022, to raise awareness of the 23 year long persecution in China.

The Tian Guo Marching Band took the lead, followed by groups with the themes “Falun Dafa is Good,” “Stop the persecution of Falun Gong,” and “Congratulations to Nearly 400 million Chinese People Who Quit the CCP and its Affiliated Organizations.”

U.S. Citizens Benefit from Practicing Falun Dafa and Spread the Truth

Nicole, a young practitioner from New York, wearing a yellow T-shirt with “Falun Dafa” printed on it, talked to people along the parade route and told them about Falun Dafa and how the CCP has persecuted it for 23 years.

Nicole said she feels fortunate to have learned about Falun Dafa.

Nicole said that she was fortunate to hear about Falun Dafa three weeks before the pandemic, and she has now practiced for over two years. She said because of the pandemic many people had to work from home and they had time to reflect on their priorities and their lives.

Nicole said she traveled the world, attended festivals, and tried different new things, but in the end she felt empty inside.

“I knew there was something missing in my life, so I started to seek spiritually,” she said. A colleague suggested that she try Falun Dafa. She read Zhuan Falun, the main book of Falun Dafa, and learned the five exercises. She said she immediately felt that it was what she had been looking for.

This year is the second time Nicole has gone to Washington D.C. to participate in the events held on July 20 to protest the CCP’s persecution. She said Falun Dafa teaches people to be good, and improve themselves from the inside out. She pointed out that the Chinese government misleads people with lies and persecutes good people. She said, “I just want to come here to let people know the truth.”

Scott Brown from Maine has practiced Falun Dafa for 21 years.

Scott Brown from Maine started practicing Falun Dafa in 2001, 21 years ago. He said, “A Falun Dafa practitioner gave a taxi driver a copy of Zhuan Falun, and that book came to me later. Falun Dafa taught me to tell the truth, be a good person, and be able to endure unbearable things. I can feel the powerful energy in my hands when I practice the exercises. I understand the importance of valuing virtue and doing good deeds. I also gain wisdom from Dafa.”

Despite the sweltering heat, Mr. Brown kept introducing Falun Dafa to passersby along the parade route. He said, “Every July, I come to Washington D.C. to participate in the activities to protest the persecution. I feel very honored to be a Falun Dafa practitioner. I have benefited a lot. I want to repay by sharing my experiences. I wish to let more people know about the horrific persecution launched by the CCP.”

Chinese Tourist Touched by the March

Mr. Tan arrived in the U.S. a few days prior, and happened to see the practitioners’ parade. Under the scorching sun, he stood and watched the parade from start to finish.

“It’s very shocking,” Mr. Tan said. “It’s one situation in China, but the situation is completely different here. Only by comparing can we know that this is a normal society. Over here there are Falun Gong, Christianity, and various beliefs. But in China, especially in these past two years, the situation is getting worse.”

He continued, “The CCP’s approach is completely against human nature. My mother began practicing Falun Dafa in 1997, and her health improved. She has also experienced persecution over the years. She was detained again last year and just returned home this year. If Falun Dafa didn’t do her any good, then why would she still practice it?”

Mr. Tan said, “I really hope that my mother can also practice freely in an environment like the United States.”

People in Washington: First Time Seeing Such a March

Lynn Schartz works in Washington D.C.

Mr. Lynn Schartz, who works in Washington, said that he did not expect to see such a large-scale demonstration. He said, “The CCP’s persecution in the past 23 years is bad. In the United States, freedom of belief is protected by the Constitution. No one will be arrested or imprisoned for their faith or practice.”

Adina Docter teaches in the Greater Washington D.C. area

Ms. Adina Docter said, “This is a beautiful and peaceful parade. I like the message they convey. I have seen many protests in the past two years. But this is the first time I’ve seen such a peaceful march. They are so quiet. In line with their message, I think the Chinese government should stop persecuting people who practice Falun Dafa.”

Tourists Learn About the CCP’s Persecution

Richard Spooner and his daughter from Texas

Richard Spooner and his daughter were touring Washington. He is a pilot and said he has made several trips to China, “I have seen how the CCP works. I hope the truth will come out and more people will know what’s going on there. The CCP blocks information so it’s hard for people in China to know what’s going on. It’s really sad.”

“I’m so glad they’re hosting an event like this here,” he said. “It’s an important step to let people know the truth. I’m shocked that the parade lineup is so large and well organized. It’s great. It’s hard to see a scene like this in Texas.”

Tahida and her husband from the UK

Tahida, a city councilor in Manchester, UK, was sightseeing with her husband in Washington. It was the first time they heard about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

“It’s a shame that the CCP persecutes such a group of peaceful people,” said Tahida. “It’s really nice that they can hold such a large-scale parade in the capital of the United States. This peaceful protest raises awareness, and ultimately brings about change.”

Isabella (first from left) and her family from Germany

Isabella’s family from Germany were touring Washington D.C. This was the first time they heard about Falun Dafa. “It’s very nice. So many people, very peaceful and orderly, and we understand their message,” Isabella said.

Freda Castillo from Mexico

Freda Castillo from Mexico was visiting friends and relatives in Washington. She watched the parade from the roadside and took many photos. She said, “They are very peaceful. This is very exciting. The lineup is huge. Although I don’t know much, I want to know more about Falun Dafa.”

Background: What Is Falun Dafa and Why Is the CCP Persecuting It?

Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) was first introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in Changchun, China, in 1992. The spiritual discipline is now practiced in over 100 countries and regions worldwide. Millions of people who have embraced the teachings, which are based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, and have learned the five exercises, have experienced improved health and well-being.

Jiang Zemin, former head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), perceived the spiritual discipline’s growing popularity as a threat to the CCP’s atheistic ideology and on July 20, 1999, he issued an order to eradicate the practice.

Under Jiang’s personal direction, the CCP established the 610 Office, an extralegal security organization with the power to override the police and judicial systems, and whose sole function is to carry out the persecution of Falun Dafa.

Minghui.org has confirmed the deaths of thousands of practitioners as a result of the persecution over the past 23 years. The actual number is believed to be much higher. Countless practitioners have been imprisoned and tortured for their faith.

There is concrete evidence that the CCP sanctions the harvesting of organs from detained practitioners, who are murdered to supply China’s organ transplant industry.