TORONTO—Falun Gong adherents from across Canada held a rally and parade in Toronto on Sunday to raise awareness about their practice and the persecution it suffers in China.
Around 500 gathered in Queen's Park Sunday morning to practice the slow-moving qigong exercises of Falun Gong before circling a smaller area where speakers and community leaders shared their thoughts with the crowd.
Clement Rodrigo, a leader in Toronto's Southeast Asian community, said the ongoing efforts of Falun Gong practitioners to resist and stop the persecution of their group in China left him optimistic.
“I'm encouraged constantly when I find out people get together, unafraid to speak out,” he said.
“The Chinese government is starting to feel the cracks because of the growing respect the practice has gathered.”
He said his connections in the political arena were also supportive and were starting to realize they should not be intimidated from speaking out against the actions of the Chinese regime.
“We should not be afraid to express our concern to the Chinese government that is unnecessarily trying to put a muzzle on people who want to make a better world, to have better family relationships.”
Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese self-improvement practice that focuses on cultivating oneself towards truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
Clement encouraged the Falun Gong practitioners to tell more people about their beliefs and what is happening to their fellow practitioners in China.
“The world needs that peace, the world needs truth, compassion and tolerance.”
After the rally, the group participated in a parade through the streets of downtown Toronto carrying banners calling for an end to persecution and demonstrating the Falun Gong exercises.