Over one thousand Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) practitioners held a rally, march, and candlelight vigil in Washington, D.C. on July 14, 2016. The events aimed to raise public awareness of the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, and called on all circles to help stop the atrocities that have now persisted for 17 years.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) initiated a violent campaign against Falun Gong on July 20, 1999. Since then, practitioners have been systematically arrested, imprisoned, forced to undergo brainwashing, tortured, and even killed for their organs. Facing the brutal persecution, Falun Gong practitioners continue to hold peaceful protests and call on the international community to take action to stop the Chinese regime’s crimes, including at large events in Washington, D.C. around July 20 every year.
The rally was held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol at noon on July 14. Invited speakers, including several House Representatives, spoke at the rally to express their support for Falun Gong and condemn the CCP’s persecution and human rights violations.
After the rally, practitioners embarked on a 2.3-mile march from Capitol Hill, along Pennsylvania Avenue, 15th Street, and Constitution Avenue, ending at the Lincoln Memorial. The march lasted one and a half hours. Many government employees and Congressional staffers watched the march.
Practitioners held a candlelight vigil in front the Lincoln Memorial, which symbolizes freedom, hope, and civil rights. They held candles to commemorate fellow practitioners who were tortured to death by the Chinese regime for refusing to renounce their faith.