On the evening of Saturday, July 20 where the Chinese embassy sits tucked away on quiet International Place in Washington, D.C., eighty Falun Gong practitioners practiced the Falun Gong exercises and held a peaceful candlelight vigil to mark 14 years of persecution of the practice in China.
One of the organizers, Keith Ware, 56 says the vigil has been held every year since 2000. Falun Gong practitioners gather to honor those who have died in the persecution and to show the world “we will remain steadfast whatever the conditions,” says Ware.
On the small sidewalk and garden area outside the embassy, big banners that read “Falun Dafa is Good” and “Stop Persecuting Falun Gong” are hoisted on poles and draped over police barriers facing the Chinese embassy.
Somebody is always in the embassy says Ware. He says that if even just one person in the embassy is touched and comes to understand Falun Gong because of the vigil that one person will tell others, helping to “eliminate the evil, which is like a cancer.”
When people learn that organs are being forcibly taken from practitioners of Falun Gong, “everybody is against it” says Ware. He says there is a lot to do to tell more people about the persecution of Falun Gong in China for the whole world to recognize and condemn the persecution as evil.
Imprisoned twice at the infamous Masanjia Labor Camp, Wang Chunying, 59, suffered five years and three months of persecution in China for her faith in Falun Gong. She endured being handcuffed to two beds and stretched between them at one time for 16 hours and another for 23 hours. She was also force-fed and endured attempts to brainwash her so as to make her give up practicing Falun Gong.
She got out, and last May she made her way to the United States. She came to Washington, D.C. on July 20 to the candlelight vigil.
Wang said that today she is thinking of those who suffered alongside her in Masanjia. Particularly Falun Gong practitioner Lao Xuemei, with whom she spent much time and is still being held at Masanjia. She said, “When I think of my fellow sister-inmates there, I am deeply concerned for them.”