WASHINGTON—Practitioners of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong will take center stage in the U.S. capital on June 20 and 22, with a rally held on the west lawn of the Capitol and a march through the city.
“There will be 5,000 Falun Gong practitioners from all over the world who have come to Washington to call for stopping the persecution of Falun Gong in China,” said Mindy Ge, spokesperson of the Falun Dafa Association of Washington.
Ge explained that Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime for almost 19 years. “It has been too long,” Ge said. “It has to end.”
Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual practice, teaches individuals to improve themselves by living according to the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance and by doing five sets of meditative exercises.
“There will be support from members of Congress and NGOs, who will call for ending the persecution,” Ge said.
Following the rally, a grand march will head down Pennsylvania Avenue, circle around the White House, and end at the Washington Monument.
Other activities will include a candlelight vigil and demonstrations by Falun Gong practitioners of the discipline’s slow-moving meditative exercises in large groups at various locations around Washington.
One such demonstration will also be a “character formation” near the Washington Monument, in which practitioners perform the Falun Gong exercises while standing in such a way that, when seen from above, they form an image of the Falun, the symbol of Falun Gong.
The candlelight vigil will be held to mourn the thousands of practitioners who have been killed during the persecution in China.
Ge explained that in 1999, then-CCP leader Jiang Zemin feared that the Chinese people were preferring the traditional moral teachings of Falun Gong to the Communist Party’s atheism and materialism, and so he started a campaign to eradicate the practice. Human rights organizations have documented mass detentions, widespread torture, and the harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners’ organs for use in China’s large organ transplantation industry.
Ge hopes that locals and tourists alike will come to enjoy the activities. “People can learn a little about the practice and benefit from that. And maybe they can pray for ending the persecution,” Ge said.
Falun Gong Activities in Washington
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Public rally, grand march, group exercises
Falun Gong group exercises
8 a.m.–10 a.m.
Public rally and speech on the West Terrace Lawn of the U.S. Capitol (Capitol Hill & Capitol Reflecting Pool)
10 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
11:45 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Falun Gong group exercises in front of the Washington Monument (close to Constitution Avenue)
3:30 p.m.–6:10 p.m.
Falun Gong group exercises at Freedom Plaza (Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Street, NW)
3:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
Falun Gong group exercises in front of the Chinese Embassy (3505 International Place, NW)
3:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
FRIDAY, June 22, 2018
Falun Gong group exercises with a character formation at Washington Monument (close to Constitution Avenue)
Falun Gong practitioners will perform the exercises while in a formation that represents the symbol of Falun Gong, the Falun.
8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Falun Gong group exercises at McPherson Square Park
2:30 p.m.–4 p.m.
Candlelight vigil at Washington Monument (close to Constitution Avenue)
Mourning the deaths of Falun Gong practitioners persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party
8 p.m.–10 p.m.