The ban that outlawed the peaceful meditation of Falun Gong in China on July 20, 1999, has resulted in countless people of faith losing their lives in the 21-year-long persecution. Despite the pandemic, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) intensified the persecution of the spiritual group in the first half of 2020, subjecting the adherents to extreme vilification, harassment, torture, and forced organ harvesting.
The period between January to June 2020 witnessed 2,654 practitioners being arrested and 2,659 harassed for their faith, according to a July 2020 report from Minghui, a U.S.-based website that provides firsthand updates on the spiritual practice and its persecution. The report added that 1,687 of these Falun Gong adherents had their homes ransacked.
“Many elderly practitioners were also targeted. More specifically, 540 (10.1 percent) of the 5,313 targeted practitioners were 65 or older, including 116 between 65 and 70, 278 in their 70s, 140 in their 80s, and 6 in their 90s,” the report stated.
The CCP began its persecution of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) for the reason that the ancient self-improvement cultivation practice—with its three principles of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance”—amassed huge popularity and followers in China by the late 1990s. The authoritarian regime considered its law-abiding citizens with faith a threat to its communist ideology of struggle and hate.
Every year on July 20, Falun Gong practitioners the world over hold candlelight vigils, rallies, and parades, and distribute information materials to mark the dark anniversary and raise awareness about ongoing genocide. This year, where many followers of this ancient cultivation system are braving the CCP virus, commonly known as the coronavirus, to draw attention to the severe atrocities in the hopes of ending the persecution, others are conducting online rallies on the cause. The adherents in Canada and Australia have planned two separate online rallies for July 20, with speakers ranging from senators to lawmakers and human rights lawyers, according to Event Brite.
Below are some selected photos highlighting the July-20 Falun Dafa events from the recent past.
The Solemn Vigils
Falun Gong adherents from the greater Vancouver region gathered in front of the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver on July 10, 2020, to highlight the persecution of their faith in China. During their peaceful gathering, the adherents formed two rows over 100 meters long on both sides of the entrance to the Chinese Consulate, holding signs written in English and Chinese, asking to stop the brutal persecution.
“Rejecting CCP Equals Rejecting Virus”
When a man wearing a custom-made mask with a “CCP virus” logo saw the banner reading, “Stay Away from the CCP and the CCP Virus,” he walked over to the Falun Gong practitioners to give them a thumbs-up, reported Minghui.
He told them that he knows in “great detail the crimes the CCP committed, such as harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners, the genocide of the Uighurs, and the crackdown on Hong Kong residents.” He said he recently returned from Hong Kong and “hates what the CCP has done to the people” in Hong Kong.
“Humanity’s Only Hope Is to Improve Morality”
To call attention to the communist party’s human rights violations in China during the 21-year-long persecution, the adherents of the spiritual group held a rally in downtown Auckland on June 20, 2020. The passersby were shocked to learn about China’s state-sanctioned live organ harvesting.
Meanwhile, in Australia, a rally was held to celebrate 350 million Chinese citizens quitting the CCP in front of Sydney’s Customs House on Jan. 31, 2020. Speaking at the rally, Riccardo Bossi, leader of the Australia One Party, author, speaker, international business consultant, and former Australian Army Special Forces lieutenant colonel, congratulated the Chinese people who have chosen to quit the CCP.
Mr. Bossi said: “The CCP is corrupting political circles in Australia. They have invested heavily in the country. Australia, which used to be economically strong and self-reliant, has become the CCP’s vassal. If the regime is not disintegrated, China and Australia too will be destroyed. If Australians want to save Australia, they must help the Chinese quit the CCP and save China.”
Demonstrating Gentle Exercises
During the recent events to expose the persecution and raise awareness, practitioners also demonstrated the slow-moving meditative exercises of Falun Gong at parks and told passersby about the practice’s health benefits.
“Thank You for Telling Me About This”
The peaceful-looking practitioners immersed in meditation impressed many onlookers; some even thanked these volunteers for making them aware of the human rights violations in China.
“Thank you for telling me about this, as I did not know that the situation in China was so terrible,” a tourist said. “Freedom of belief is important for our society and it should be protected.”
“What Can We Do to Help?”
In the early months of 2020, as the pandemic peaked, most provinces in China were locked down, but the harassment of this ancient self-cultivation system didn’t stop. “There were also more practitioners arrested in February, March, May and June 2020 compared to last year,” the Minghui report stated.
Passersby on learning the atrocities faced by these people of faith in China often ask how they can help stop the persecution. The adherents suggest sharing information with friends and families to let more people become aware of this genocide and signing a petition to ask senators and officials to take action against the CCP.
Falun Gong practitioners’ persistent efforts to expose the persecution in such a peaceful manner is admired by onlookers. However, some may wonder what’s the use of signing petitions and demonstrating on the streets, especially if the persecution has not ceased in all these 21 years. Perhaps the following quote from Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, may speak volumes of their noble cause: “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.”
To sign an online petition to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong, and forced organ harvesting, click here.