Published: July 23, 2009 07:05 pm
Edmond woman joins peaceful protests in Washington, D.C.
The Edmond Sun
EDMOND — Edmond resident I Chun Lin, also known by the English name Estelle, recently took her 6-year-old son to Washington, D.C.
The primary purpose of the visit was not to see the usual sights, but to to join thousands of Falun Dafa practitioners during four days to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Dafa by the Chinese Communist Party.
Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that is Buddhist in nature. It consists of moral teachings, a meditation and four gentle exercises that resemble tai-chi and are known in Chinese culture as “qigong.”
At the core of Falun Gong are the values of truth, compassion and forbearance (or in Chinese Zhen, Shan and Ren). Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, teaches that these are the most fundamental qualities of the universe itself and uses them as a guide for daily life and practice.
The practice began in China in 1992 and quickly spread by word of mouth throughout the country and then beyond. In just seven years since its 1992 introduction to the public, an estimated 70 million to 100 million persons in China were by 1999 making Falun Gong a part of their daily lives.
On July 20, 1999, the Communist Party launched a brutal persecution of Falun Gong, Lin said. The persecution was not only toward Falun Gong, but also aimed to destroy the moral standards and human principles of all people, she said.
Since the start of the persecution, Falun Dafa practitioners throughout the world have been constantly speaking out about the truth of Falun Dafa and exposing the Party’s actions in a tireless effort to end the persecution, Lin said.
In Washington, the large-scale event began when practitioners from around the world had a rally in front of Capitol Hill on July 16.
Nine members of Congress delivered speeches or sent statements, as did many leaders of human rights and faith-based organizations in support of Falun Dafa practitioners’ ongoing efforts to end the persecution in China, Lin said.
Colorado Sen. Mark Udall sent a statement to be read at the rally commending Falun Dafa practitioners for traveling to Washington to protest the persecution in China and expressing his continuing support, Lin said.
“The next morning I visited Oklahoma Congresswoman Mary Fallin’s office in the Longworth Building with a couple of my fellow practitioners from Oklahoma,” Lin said. “We spent 15 minutes with Matt Wise to update him on the current situation regarding the suppression of Falun Dafa in China.”
Thousands of practitioners began a large-scale group practice at 9:30 a.m. on the west lawn of Capitol Hill, Lin said. Just past noon, a grand march set off with the Divine Land Marching Band in blue and white uniforms leading the procession.
“As usual, I marched and played in the clarinet section,” Lin said.
The march of several thousand people proceeded from the National Mall in front of Capitol Hill all the way to Liberty Square near the White House.
After practicing Falun Dafa exercises in front of the Capitol building, more than 2,500 Falun Dafa practitioners from 20 countries arcross the world marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Federal Triangle, Lin said.
Every year around July 20, this spectacular scene is repeated in the U.S. capital, Lin said. Year by year, passers-by have become more and more aware and concerned about Falun Dafa practitioners’ words and actions, she said.
The messages on the banners included, “Falun Dafa is Great,” “Stop the Persecution of Falun Dafa in China,” “Bring Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, Liu Jing and Zhou Yongkang to Justice” and “Only When CCP is Gone Will the Persecution End.”
Falun Dafa practitioners of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds carried many different banners and display boards bearing the messages, “Falun Dafa is Great” and “The World Needs Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” Lin said.
On July 18, around 3,000 practitioners congregated in the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall for the annual Washington, D.C., Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference.
Seventeen practitioners of different nationalities shared their experiences of personal improvement, the healing effects of the practice, and their work toward rescuing fellow practitioners imprisoned and tortured in mainland China.
At the end of the day, the founder and teacher of the practice, Li Hongzhi, spoke for about 40 minutes, Lin said.
On July 19, participants from many organizations and the public joined Falun Dafa practitioners for “The Million Minutes of Meditation.” People sat down at the National Mall for a few minutes to meditate for freedom and human rights in China, Lin said. A rally and concert followed, concluding the four days of events.