Falun Gong practitioners took to the town square in the city of Linkoping in southeastern Sweden on April 26 to tell the local population about their spiritual discipline and how it is persecuted in China.
The Falun Gong practitioners from Linkoping, Norrkoping, and Motala gathered at Stora Torget, the central square in Linkoping, to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the peaceful appeal by Falun Gong practitioners on April 25, 1999.
On that day, 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathered in front of the Chinese Communist Party leadership compound, which is known as Zhongnanhai, to appeal for the release of 45 practitioners arrested in Tianjin.
Although peaceful, the protest was followed by the official ban of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999 by the then-Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin. The number of Falun Gong adherents had become 70-100 million, almost twice as many as the communist party members, and Jiang Zemin was jealous that Falun Gong quickly gained the hearts of millions of people, which the party ideology had failed to do it, even by force.
The start of the persecution helped the rest of the world hear about Falun Gong. Now it is popular in 114 countries, but is not practiced freely in China.
Most people in Linkoping had heard before what Falun Gong is and about the persecution in China.
For others, this event was their first encounter with the ancient meditation practice, and they were shocked to hear that the persecution in China, and especially the forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners, is possible nowadays. Many signed the petition of the Doctors against Forced Organ Harvesting, hoping their signature will help stop this atrocity.
Some people stopped to talk with practitioners, and share their views on personal cultivation, the benefits of meditation, how Falun Gong helps people to be better people, and why it is persecuted in China. Others used the opportunity to learn the Falun Gong exercises on the spot and took fliers to obtain more information.
The weather also contributed to the success of the event: the abundant sun and warmth of the weekend day brought out hundreds of the town’s citizens, who had sat comfortably in the nearby cafes. Many of them observed with interest the demonstration of the exercises of Falun Gong and the banners, and some asked questions and requested leaflets.