Six: Persecution Of Faith
12: An Epic Endeavor
After the persecution began in China, overseas Falun Gong practitioners started appeal and rescue campaigns. In Sept. 2000, during the World Summit, some 2000 Falun Gong practitioners from around the world came to New York, quote/unquote, ” to welcome” Jiang Zemin.
They wore yellow T-shirts with the word”Falun Dafa” on them, and could be seen everywhere on New York streets.
Falun Gong’s large scale activities started on Sept. 5. On that day they had many practitioners gathered to do the exercises, and then distributed flyers in about 6 or 7 different places, besides the Waldorf Hotel, where Jiang stayed, and other symbolic places, they also went 3 different Chinatowns, where many Chinese people live.
At noon on Sept. 6, more than a thousand practitioners started an eight-block-long march, which called for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong, along 3rd Avenue heading north towards United Nations’ Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.
Since the persecution began over a year ago, this was the biggest march they had.
A practitioner, wearing a yellow T-shirt, was unexpectedly running into the Mayor of New York City, Mr. Giuliani.
Looking at the shirt which reads: “China, Stop Persecuting Falun Gong!” The Mayor told the person: ” You are doing the right thing!”
Jiang dreaded Falun Gong demonstrations, and employed all the means he could think of to avoid Falun Gong followers.
Jiang tried to pressure the New York Police into disallowing people to wear any yellow T-shirt in some place. However, even so, Jiang was startled many times by seeing peaceful and sincere Falun Gong followers.
At noon on Sept. 8, as Jiang was about to leave Waldorf Hotel, a practitioner walked within one meter of Jiang, and shout to him: ” Please release all Falun Gong practitioners!” All the reporters and Chinese personnel who were present heard the voice. Jiang’s face turned pale, one of his arms raised spontaneously, and his body started to shake uncontrollably.
Still badly shaken up, Jiang, at his motorcade first turn, caught sight of Falun Gong adherents, lifting a banner high up towards Jiang’s face. On the banner was English words in big letters: “Practice Falun Gong Is A Right!” After reading the banner Jiang jerked backward fiercely and trembled all over. Someone inside the car looked at the banner, and then hurried to lower his eyes.
On Sept. 9, Falun Gong practitioners had learned that Jiang was about to leave New York. They started doing their exercise on the other side of the street. Some were holding posters that reads: “Stop persecuting Falun Gong! Goodness brings good rewards, and evil brings evil”, to let their voices be heard.
The Chinese Mission officials employed diversionary tactics, and arranged for the motorcade to started from the front door to distract the practitioners, while Jiang slipped away out the side gate. However, unexpectedly, when his car had just started to drive out, Jiang run into 4 Falun Gong practitioners, holding a banner that says in shiny letters: “Falun Dafa”. When the car turned onto 1st Avenue and 35th street, the scene of Falun Gong practitioners holding posters and doing the exercise once more appeared right in Jiang’s view. It seemed Jiang just couldn’t escape Falun Gong’s presence.
On November 20, 2001, 36 Falun Gong practitioners of American and European descents, from 15 different countries converged on Tiananmen Sq. They unfurled a large banner, on which emblazoned 3 words in both English and Chinese: “Truth, Compassion, Tolerance/Zhen, Shan, Ren”. The purpose of their trip was to make a plea to China’s leaders, and seek an end to the violence and terror they have waged against Falun Gong.
“It’s the most powerful and most solemn event I have ever witnessed in my life. “said the group’s designated photographer Joel Chipka. “What I saw was over 30 people simply trying to express themselves.” Another participant later described: “Within a minute, police cars rode in and had surrounded us.”
The practitioners who were protesting were beaten, arrested and dragged off by police.
They came from 15 countries. The way they set it up was quite simple. The message went: “At exactly 2 pm. on November 20, we’ll meditate together south of the flagpole on Tiananmen Sq.” One practitioner said: “We wanted the Chinese people to know that Falun Gong is being practiced all around the world, and that persecuting it is not acceptable. We wanted the Chinese people to know that practitioners from all over the world have come to help, and to explain that Jiang’s government is lying to them.”
Jiang at the time had been hoping to use the self-immolation to smear Falun Gong throughout the world. The protest lasted for only one minute before police arrived, however, the endeavor stirred persons all around the globe. Major media quickly did arrange interviews and reports on the group and its participants, whose heroic deed sparked a round of news and stories detailing the CCP’s suppression of Falun Gong. Jiang’s dream of demonizing Falun Gong around the globe was shuttered.
Jiang Zemin became scared. He scared that the people of China might ask many questions. The government says, Falun Gong isn’t welcomed outside China or even banned, so how come these foreigners practice Falun Gong? The government says Falun Gong endangers society and harms human beings, so why aren’t the Western nations concerned about this threat? Why is Falun Gong attractive to people of other races and cultures?
Soon, Jiang Zemin ordered all the persecution campaigns were carried out behind curtains.