(Minghui.org) Practitioners celebrated the 24th World Falun Dafa Day on May 13, 2023, at Zeughausplatz (Armory Square) in downtown Zurich. They demonstrated the five sets of Falun Dafa exercises to the peaceful exercise music, and talked to the public about Falun Dafa (also called Falun Gong). The panels and banners on display drew many people who stopped to watch the event, and many came over to ask practitioners for more information.

Armory Square is located on the bustling Bahnhofstrasse, opposite the Paradeplatz, where many banks are located. It is also one of the hubs of Zurich’s tram network, with trams passing by every few minutes. The practitioners’ event also attracted many passersby and tram passengers.

Ms. Luedi looked upon the scene of Falun Gong practitioners practicing in a group and pointed to the leaflet she had received. “The music is so beautiful and calming,” she said. “With a lot of traffic around, they were like a source of silence that stopped me. They looked very relaxed and satisfied, and I wanted to learn more about it. My daughter and I are planning to learn Falun Gong.” 

Falun Gong practitioners demonstrate the exercises in downtown Zurich to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day.

Practitioners introduce Falun Dafa to passersby and expose the CCP’s persecution in China.

Passersby listen to practitioners talking about Falun Dafa and the persecution.

“We Need to Learn Falun Gong”

A father and daughter from the United States learned the Falun Gong exercises, and said that they planned to continue to practice after returning home.

Father and daughter Senmir and Lorne from Texas, USA learned the exercises from practitioners during the event. Senmir, a retired doctor, said, “We saw the banners and the people doing the exercises. I wanted to learn because it seemed to be a very relaxed meditation.”

After learning four of the exercises, Senmir said, “I feel very relaxed, my thoughts are pure, and I feel great.”

Lorne, his daughter agreed. “It makes people feel very calm, relaxed, full of mindfulness. It’s great to be able to learn the exercises,” she said. 

They had already looked up the contact information for Falun Gong practitioners in their city online and planned to continue learning the exercises after they returned home.

Zharkyn was overjoyed when she saw the practitioners on Zeughausplatz. She got off the tram and pushed her son’s stroller over to the information booth. She asked practitioners about the time and place of the local practice site. She was very happy to finally get in touch with Falun Gong practitioners again.

Zharkyn, a nurse from Kyrgyzstan, had taught herself the first and second sets of Falun Gong exercises online. She had come across practitioners at the same location more than two years ago, and had received information about the local practice site, but unfortunately had lost it. After having a child, she had stopped practicing for family and personal reasons.

“The first and second sets of exercises were the source of my energy,” she said, recalling her experience of practicing in the beginning. “I had two jobs, and after the night shift, I practiced for ten minutes in the morning. I was full of energy and my pain disappeared. It also improved my quality of life. I really felt peaceful and fulfilled. I really miss that time.

“The practice changes people from the inside out, and affects the environment around them,” she continued. During that time, she said that many people would confide in her. “I shared with them what I learned from Dafa. I feel that there is an endless energy [in Falun Dafa],” Zharkyn said. 

“It’s a pity that I stopped practicing,” she said. “After that, I felt like there was a hole in me. I was suffering from illness all winter. I really thought that I should start practicing Falun Dafa again.”

The World Falun Dafa Day activities allowed Zharkyn to finally go to a practice site to do the exercises with other practitioners. She was also very happy to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day with everyone. “Because this is a big thing, helping people improve their quality of life, be healthy, and feel connected to the universe. I cannot describe it in words,” she said. 

Zharkyn also hopes that Falun Dafa will spread more widely. “Very simple; ten minutes of practice can completely improve my life, and I hope that more people can have such a wonderful experience,” she said. 

Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance: Universal Values That Are Important to Everyone

After hearing the introduction to Falun Dafa and reading the informational materials, people learned that Falun Dafa not only has five peaceful exercises, but also teaches people to live according to the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and to strive to be good people.

Fassbind said the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance have somewhat disappeared in our society today, but Falun Dafa allows people to regain these values. “For example, compassion is something that we should re-understand, as is very important. We should strive to practice compassion,” he said.

Retired nurse Gabriele Spreter admires Falun Gong practitioners.

Gabriele Spreter, who worked as a nurse for more than 40 years before retiring, has seen Falun Gong practitioners in Zurich many times, so Falun Gong is no stranger to her. “Falun Dafa makes me feel good,” she said. “I am a Christian, but I feel like family with Falun Gong practitioners.” 

“Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance are global values,” Ms. Spreter said. “We should live together with such values, and improve ourselves. This is the path to peace, and this is what we should ask for.” 

She added, “Falun Gong follows the path of peace. I admire those who have followed these values.” 

Luca, who works in the service industry, is interested in meditation. When he heard about Falun Gong for the first time, he said, “It is very beautiful. I like [Falun Gong] very much, living a very good life according to Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. I agree with such values.”

After talking to several practitioners, Luca said, “They [Falun Gong practitioners] make people feel very comfortable and enthusiastic. you can feel that certain values [Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance] are deeply rooted in their hearts, and they want to keep these values. It is a very beautiful feeling.”

Sebastian Gueneau, a French teacher, said, “[Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance] are universal values that should be important to everyone. I am a Christian. It is also very important for us, especially compassion, which is found in many faiths, and in the ancient traditions of the East, from which we can learn a lot.” 

The Persecution of Falun Gong Makes People Sad 

Passersby sign the petition calling for an end to the persecution.

Tourists talk to practitioners.

Many passersby could not fathom why the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) persecutes such a kind and peaceful group. Irina, a Russian tourist visiting Switzerland, had the same question. “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance are very healthy concepts. I can’t understand why they are persecuted,” she said. 

After learning that the CCP began the bloody persecution in July 1999, many people signed the petition calling on the Swiss Government to take action to help stop the atrocities in China.

Elizabeth Esquivel, a Mexican-American mother, signed the petition and also asked her sons and daughters to sign. 

She said that her German wasn’t very good, and then searched for the right words to explain why she signed the petition. “I want Falun Gong practitioners to get some protection. Those people [Falun Gong practitioners] have nowhere to speak out in China and explain their experiences,” she said, as her eyes filled with tears.

She continued, in a slightly choked voice, “What those politicians do in China is really cruel; really cruel, so it’s very important to let people know what is happening in China, because the persecution is so bad for the people.” 

She thanked Falun Gong practitioners for sharing the information.