SYDNEY—Practitioners of Falun Gong were praised for keeping public attention on human rights abuses in China at the World Falun Dafa Day (WFDD) event in Sydney on May 14.
Over a thousand adherents of the exercise and meditation practice came from all around Australia to celebrate May 13, the birthday of Falun Dafa’s founder Master Li Honghzi and the day he first came out in 1992 to publicly impart the ancient teachings.
Speaking at a rally before Sydney’s annual WFFD parade, City of Sydney Greens Councillor Irene Doutney acknowledged the hardships Falun Gong practitioners in China have faced under a decade of persecution by the Chinese Communist Party leadership.
“Falun Dafa practitioners suffered hardships that many of us in Australia, luckily, could not even imagine, but despite the violence, the persecution and human rights abuses that Falun Dafa have suffered, they have responded not with more violence, but with peaceful and non-violent action,” she said.
If oppressed practitioners of Falun Dafa in China, and all other oppressed peoples of that nation, are to be set free, it will be through the efforts of people like “the Falun Dafa community that dare to speak the truth that others shy away from”, she told those attending the WFFD event.
Ms Doutney thanked the Falun Dafa community for raising awareness of human rights not only in Australia, but also around the world, saying: “If more people shared your passion for helping others, honesty and selflessness, then we would live in a safer, happy, harmonious world.”
The Greens councillor also read a letter of congratulations from the leader of the Greens Party in NSW, David Shoebridge.
Mr Shoebridge acknowledged the importance of the day and said all people should have the right to freedom of belief.
Nhan Tran, an independent councillor at Fairfield Council, also spoke. He said that having come from Vietnam, where basic human rights like freedom of belief, speech and assembly were also denied, he understood the challenges Falun Dafa practitioners faced.
He said he was humbled to be able to speak and wished the practitioners of Falun Dafa well in their quest to be free to practise their beliefs in China, noting that Falun Gong would help people to become “wiser and healthier.”
Representing Vietnamese Radio and Human Rights in Vietnam, Mr Joachim Ngyuen also spoke and acknowledged that they all had a common human rights goal.
Tracy DeGeer from Universal Peace Federation said Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance, the principals of Falun Gong, were values “close to the heart” of the Federation.
In the belief that these principles were fundamental to all living things and in their quest to return to “the true original nature of people,” Falun Gong practitioners were aligned with the beliefs of the Universal Peace Federation, Ms DeGeer said.
“We also believe that peace can only come when people can live from their heart and spirit, out into the society … ,” she said.
Ms DeGeer called on the Chinese regime to prove that there is no gap between what it says and what it does.
“The Chinese Government comes here and says: ‘We want to be a good citizen of the world,’ and we say we are looking to see how you treat your citizens to know how you will really be a citizen of the world.
“We are waiting for the day when you are actually proud of the Falun Dafa people and proud of the values they bring out in China and to the rest of the world.”
John Alexander, the Liberal member for Bennelong, the seat of former Prime Minister John Howard, and Guy Zangari, the State MLA for Fairfield, also sent messages of congratulations.
In concluding the speeches, John Deller, spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Association of New South Wales, said Falun Dafa stemmed from ancient teachings in China. WFFD he said was to acknowledge the benefits of the practice that Master Li Hongzhi had imparted nearly 20 years ago.
“Through understanding those principles and trying to assimilate those into their lives, people have found great improvement in health, great inner peace and a greater understanding of the meaning if life,” he said. “This is what we are celebrating today.”