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Texas, US: State Officials Address Rally to Mark Anniversary of April 25 Appeal

May 1, 2023 |   By a Falun Gong practitioner in Texas

(Minghui.org) Texas State legislators attended a rally in front of the State Capitol in Austin on April 25, 2023, to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the April 25 peaceful appeal in China. They said they admired Falun Dafa practitioners’ perseverance in their belief in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and called on all people to work together to end the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution. 

Falun Dafa practitioners held a rally in front of the State Capitol in Austin, Texas on April 25, 2023.Seven legislators joined the rally to express their support. From left to right, upper panel: Senator Angela Paxton, Representative Salman Bhojani of the 92nd District, Representative Tom Oliverson of the 130th District, and Representative Armando Martinez of the 39th District. From left to right, lower panel: Representative Jacey Jetton of the 26th District, Representative Charles Anderson of the 56th District, and Senator Lois W. Kolkhorst. 

Texas State Senator Lois Kolkhorst, Chair of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee of the 88th Texas Legislature, sponsored the event. She drafted Bill SB1040, which aims to combat organ transplant tourism and prevent Texans from unknowingly becoming accomplices of forced organ harvesting, by prohibiting postoperative health insurance benefits for people who go to countries suspected of forced organ harvesting. 

Senator: Falun Gong Practitioners’ Courage Is Impressive

Senator Angela Paxton addresses the rally. 

Senator Angela Paxton said, “Four years ago, I heard the stories of people who live in my district who had experienced these things [the CCP’s brutal persecution] themselves, and some of whom had escaped to the United States, to Texas to be free but still had family members in China––some of whom were being held in the [government’s forced labor] camps. They were not aware if they were still alive or not. I will never forget not only the tragedy, but the courage as these people told their stories who are willing to say out loud what was happening. They believe that it was worth it, to speak out.” 

She continued, “Everyone and the world should know about this, about this evil, so that we can unite together, so that we can be part of stopping it. I stand with you today, as you stand with your loved ones, for Truth, Compassion, and Forbearance. I will continue to stand with you and the Texas Senate is with you.”

It Is an Honor to Stand with You

Texas State Representative Tom Oliverson speaks in the rally.

Representative Tom Oliverson said, “Thank you and it is an honor to be with you today. Thank you for coming in the rain, during the weather, being here, for a very important cause. I believe the Chinese communist government treats people like commodity—no dignity of human beings with rights and liberties, and those rights cannot be taken away. So, my message to you today is that I will continue to make the CCP accountable as long as they continue to treat people without dignity, without human rights, continue to torture people, and continue to take away their ability of speaking freely and practicing religions [that] do not interfere with the government. We will continue to fight.” 

Texas State Representative Salman Bhojani addresses the rally. 

Representative Salman Bhojani said, “I am proud to be here today and honor the lives of Falun Dafa practitioners, who have suffered the brutal persecution and the evil forced organ harvesting. Facing the danger of losing their lives, they tell the truth to the rest of the world of the crimes against their faith. As legislators, we must stand against these blatant human rights violations. My colleagues and I will continue to support Falun Dafa.” 

People Admire Practitioners’ Perseverance

After the rally, practitioners demonstrated the five sets of exercises in front of the Capitol and collected signatures from passers-by, hoping that more people could learn about the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong. Many people stopped and talked with practitioners and asked for details.

Practitioners distribute fliers and tell people about the CCP’s persecution.

A woman from Canada said she was drawn by the soothing exercise music. She said that she had seen Falun Gong exercise demonstrations before. This time she saw so many practitioners doing the exercises in a group, and she was interested in trying them. After a practitioner invited her, she learned the second exercise, and remarked that she felt that the energy field was very good.

A man passed by the capitol building, and after hearing about the persecution, he said he admired the perseverance and kindness of Falun Gong practitioners. He affirmed, “You have done a good job. You have let many people know the real situation of the persecution in China. Your exercises are peaceful.”

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

Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) 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, though due to the difficulty in getting information out of China, 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.