Starting as a spiritual discipline with roots dating back thousands of years to a household name during China’s 1990s, “qigong fever,” Falun Gong has become a movement that spread throughout China and around the globe, and May 13 2021, marks 29 years Falun Dafa was first brought to the public in China, and it is celebrated as World Falun Dafa Day around the world.
In Australia, the practice has attracted hundreds of followers from diverse ethnic backgrounds since its introduction in 1995 due to its emphasis on improving people’s moral compass and physical well-being and its focus on the virtues of Truth-Compassion-Tolerance.
In the week leading up to the practice’s biggest anniversary, more than 15 Australian politicians in different states joined millions of others to commemorate the day.
In a two-minute video, Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz expressed his appreciation for Falun Gong practitioners who stand up against the persecution through peaceful resistance and raising international awareness.
“After two decades of sustained, systematic cruelty and oppression, it is heartwarming and encouraging to witness the resolve and determination of Falun Dafa to pursue freedom and peace,” Abetz said.
New South Wales Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells congratulated the practitioners for being one of “the very first” movements to warn the world about the Chinese Communist Party’s extensive human rights abuses.
“You should be commended for your bravery, courage and spiritual fortitude,” she said.
At least 2,000 Falun Gong practitioners had been reportedly tortured to death in the concentration camps as of 2009.
According to reports by lawmaker David Kilgour, human rights campaigner David Matas and researcher Ethan Gutmann, tens of thousands of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience have also been killed to supply a lucrative trade in human organs and cadavers. Over 60,000 illegal organ transplants are carried out in China annually, and the abuses are believed to be ongoing.
Dean Smith, Liberal senator for Western Australia, said the Australian Government is “aware of troubling reports of illegal organ harvesting in China”.
“These practices are an offence to human decency and strongly opposed by the Government,” Smith added.
While South Australian Senator Alex Antic noted that Faun Gong practitioners have stood up for their beliefs in the face of incredible pressure and threats directed at them from the Chinese Communist party, even here in Australia.
“International Falun Dafa Day is not just a celebration of Falun gong spiritual practice. It is also a reminder of Falun Dafa’s teachings centred on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance, which serve as a stark contrast to the authoritarian rule of the Chinese Communist Party,” Antic said.
“I would encourage adherents to continue to be proud of their history and traditions,” he said.
Greens Parliamentary Leader Tammy Franks agreed saying, “We know that there is no law that makes Falun Gong illegal and that the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of practitioners has no legal basis.”
Officials from different sides of the political spectrum also express their blessings for the day.
“With almost 30 years history and over 100 million people in over 100 countries practicing, it is clear the universal principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance have been meaningful for many,” according to Sam O’Connor, Liberal National member for Bonney in Queensland.
Meanwhile, Queensland Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said the Falun Dafa’s commitment to the universal principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance “has much to commend it, even to people who may not regard themselves as followers”.
New South Wales Labor Party MP Julia Finn also applauded the practice’s “dedication to promoting Chinese cultural values with strong moral and ethical principles.”
Deputy Mayor of the City of Ryde, Peter Kim praised the introduction of meditation practices, saying it greatly benefiting the local community’s physical and mental wellbeing.
“Meditation sessions were precious to the Ryde residents as we are in a middle of a pandemic and many residents are feeling entrapped,” Kim said. “The practitioners actively participated in making our city a more diverse and inclusive community.”
Other Australian politicians have also sent letters and proclamations to support the anniversary and commend the practice, including State LNP Member for Oodgeroo Mark Robinson, Federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz, Greens Senator for Queensland Larissa Waters, Greens MP for Maiwar Michael Berkman, State Member for Coomera Michael Crandon, Member for Cheltenham Joe Szkacs, Deputy Mayor of the city of Ryde Peter Kim, and Parramatta Councillor Bob Dwyer.