Officially, Oct. 1 is China’s National Day, the anniversary of the founding of communist China.
But every year groups of Chinese outside China gather to mark the anniversary a different way, by commemorating Memorial Day, or National Tragedy Day to rebuff the Communist Party and its history of violence and atrocity.
In Hong Kong, 800 practitioners of the Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) spiritual practice marched through the streets of the Kowloon District in support of the more than 100 million who have rejected the Chinese Communist Party.
The group’s Tian Guo Marching Band drew a crowd that included some mainland Chinese who were shocked to see freedom of speech on display, as such a large gathering would have been banned or brutally suppressed in China.
Onlookers explained the significance of Memorial Day to them: "Today [Oct. 1] isn’t a day for celebration, it’s one of sorrow. Ever since communist China was founded, we and our fellow compatriots have experienced endless suffering and hardship."
A college student surnamed Chen told The Epoch Times that he was in Hong Kong to take an English exam and that he did not expect to see a demonstration of Falun Gong practitioners.
"The scale of this protest, the dissent expressed by Hong Kongers, and the orderly nature of the police—I’m shocked," he said.
The expatriate Chinese community in London, including Uyghurs and Tibetans, held a similar protest outside the Chinese Embassy, rallying against the Chinese Communist Party’s violations of human rights and freedom and in memoriam for the tens of millions killed under its tyrannical rule.
Demonstrators wearing masks held signs that said, "Freedom and Justice for Tibet" and "Freedom and Justice for Uyghurs." They spoke four languages—Chinese, English, Uyghur, and Tibetan—to express their grievances.
Like other fellow overseas Chinese, "We are not here to celebrate today," democracy activist Jin Luxi said. "We are here to expose the crimes of the Chinese Communist Party. In its 62 years since forcefully seizing political power through military might, it has brought the Chinese disaster after disaster: massacres, political persecutions, starvation, and all sorts of unnatural deaths."
The U.S. capital was also the site of a Chinese Memorial Day gathering. On a chilly fall evening on Sept. 30, 60 Falun Gong practitioners gathered silently across from the Chinese Embassy in Washington. Their demeanor was solemn and they said they wanted to show that 12 years of persecution had not changed them. They say they remain firm in following the spiritual teachings of Falun Gong, which are based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
"We just want those people to see the truth" of the Communist Party and the persecution of Falun Gong, which has claimed more than 3,000 lives, said Mindy Ge, one of the coordinators of the protest. The Communist Party is not representative of traditional Chinese culture, she said.
The Falun Gong practitioners held signs that had pictures showing practitioners who had suffered torture and abuse, displaying to onlookers and possibly those inside the embassy the brutal measures China has taken to suppress the meditation practice.
Some held banners renouncing the CCP, encouraging the Chinese to participate in the Tuidang (Quitting the CCP) movement, which has seen more than 100 million worldwide renounce any association with the CCP and its affiliated organizations.
"Chinese Memorial Day" gatherings also took place in Taiwan, Helsinki, Finland, and in the American city Seattle.