Why There Are so Many Yellow T-shirts in NYC This Week

NEW YORK—A line of yellow-shirted Falun Dafa practitioners encircled City Hall on Tuesday, doing slow-moving qigong exercises to music and sitting tranquilly in meditation, to begin a week of activities in New York around Falun Dafa Day.

Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is a spiritual practice that was first taught to the public in China on May 13, 1992, and that date is now celebrated by practitioners as Falun Dafa Day.

By 1999, the official estimate was that 70 million people had started practicing it in China. Falun Gong sources said the number was over 100 million.

Although Wednesday marks the official World Falun Dafa Day, events are planned for Tuesday through Friday. “We call it Falun Dafa week too,” said David Tompkins, one of the organizers of the events.

Tompkins said the goal of Falun Dafa Day is to introduce people to the practice as well as raise awareness of the fact that it has been severely persecuted in China since 1999.

“Falun Gong is truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, and there are five exercises. It’s free, and it’s practiced around the world,” he said. “I think if people understand what Falun Gong is, they’ll realize that the persecution is all based on lies.”

I think if people understand what Falun Gong is, they’ll realize that the persecution is all based on lies.
— David Tompkins, organizer of Falun Dafa Day events

He described brainwashing centers, long prison sentences without trial, and heavy labor for Falun Gong practitioners in China. Yet despite the persecution lasting over 16 years, he said Falun Gong has not disappeared in China.

“Despite all the violence, we’ve been resilient,” he said. “We have, and we will, overcome.”

Global Reach

Tompkins and co-coordinator Yi Rong estimated there would be some 8,000 Falun Dafa practitioners participating in the events this week from over 100 countries.

8,000 Falun Dafa practitioners participating in the events this week from over 100 countries.

Dahlia Harpaz, a Falun Gong practitioner who came from Israel, said she discovered the practice from a magazine and was astonished at how it changed her health and her outlook on life.

“I was really angry at the whole world,” she said.”It’s as is if [now] I’ve got my childhood, with happiness inside.”

This was her first time coming to New York for Falun Dafa Day.

Peter Ebertz, a Falun Gong practitioner from Sweden, said it has become a tradition for him to come to New York on Falun Dafa Day and estimates he has been coming here for the past 15 years.

“You get the feeling of unity, ” he said. “And [that] we’re so many.”

Veronika Müller, a Falun Gong practitioner from Germany, said the practice pulled her out of deep depression in college and gave her energy and an inner peace that she hadn’t experienced before.

“It’s nice energy,” she said, adding that she was looking forward to hearing other’s experiences of practicing Falun Dafa.

At a conference on Thursday, adherents will speak about their experiences practicing Falun Dafa.

 

Schedule of Events

 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

7:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.

Giant Formation into the Chinese characters “Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance”

Location: Gantry Park at 4-09 47 Rd., Long Island City, and N.Y. 11101

 

8:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.

Walk across Brooklyn Bridge

Location: Brooklyn Borough Hall (209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11201) to Foley Square (111 Worth St., New York, N.Y. 10013)

 

8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Demonstration of Falun Dafa exercises in Central Park

Location: Multiple locations inside Central Park

 

12:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.

Performances to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day

Location: Foley Square (111 Worth St., New York, N.Y. 10013)‎

 

1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Demonstration of the Falun Dafa Exercises in Times Square

Location: Times Square (47 Street and Seventh Avenue New York, N.Y. 10036)

 

10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Demonstration of the Falun Dafa Exercises at Bowling Green Park

Location: Broadway and Beaver St. New York, N.Y. 10004

 

5:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.

Demonstration of the Falun Dafa Exercises and Candle Light Vigil at the Chinese Consulate

Location: 42nd Street and 12th Avenue New York, N.Y. 10036

 

 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

7:00 a.m.– 8:00 a.m.

Demonstration of the Falun Dafa Exercises in Union Square

Location: 14th-17th streets and Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10003

 

 

Friday, May 15, 2015

9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.

Demonstration of the Falun Dafa Exercises outside the U.N.

Location: Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at 47 Street and Second Avenue New York, NY 10017

 

10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.

Rally

Location: Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at 47 Street and Second Avenue New York, NY 10017

 

12:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

Grand Parade

Route: U.N. Dag Hammarskjold Plaza to Chinese Consulate  

 

3:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Demonstration of the Falun Dafa Exercises in Times Square

Location: Times Square 47 Street and Seventh Avenue New York, NY 10036

 

Link to official schedule

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