WHITE PLAINS,NY—Over 5,000 Falun Gong practitioners from around the world gathered in White Plains, NY to share experiences about their practice and to hear the founder of Falun Gong, Mr. Li Hongzhi, speak this Sunday.
Falun Gong, introduced to the public in China in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi, is considered a spiritual practice by its adherents, who refer to themselves as “practitioners.” Practitioners strive to live their daily lives according to the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. Along with the principles, they practice a series of five exercises, including a sitting meditation.
Since 1992, the practice has spread to approximately 80 countries. The annual conference in New York is one of the largest annual conferences held by Falun Gong practitioners. Such conferences have been impossible in China since 1999, when the Chinese Communist Party banned Falun Gong. The regime instigated a persecution campaign that has been documented and condemned by government officials and human rights organizations worldwide, and has resulted in imprisonment, torture, and death for Chinese holding fast to their belief in the practice.
During the conference, practitioners read written “experience-sharing” papers to other practitioners. Following a few sharings, Mr. Li Hongzhi arrived on stage and gave an affectionate greeting to the audience and spoke for about one hour. He encouraged practitioners to be diligent in doing the exercises and following the principles, as well as letting people know about the persecution. He also answered questions from the audience. He received a long and enthusiastic applause as he departed.