The Falun Gong group’s U.S. West Tian Guo Marching Band performed once again in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in San Francisco on March 11. Well over a hundred groups performed in the parade, which was broadcast live by ABC-TV.
The Tian Guo Marching Band, donning Tang dynasty-style costumes, was warmly welcomed by the crowds.
“Their performances are flawless,” said parade organizer Liam Frost.“We invite the Falun Gong group every year. You can tell that people really enjoy the band and we appreciate their contribution to the event.”
When the band passed by the announcer’s stage, and the host introduced them as practitioners of Falun Gong, an ancient Chinese meditation practice based on the principles of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.”
Jean Murphy, a local resident, was excited to see the band. “Excellent! I love it!” she said. “Their playing is perfect and their costumes are beautiful. They did a great job!”
Another spectator, Ahmet, echoed: “This is the best band I’ve seen today. Their music is great.”
Ahmet is well aware of Falun Gong and the persecution in China. He said, “I often see their demonstrations in front of the Chinese consulate. They are doing a good thing. Everybody should have freedom of speech.”
A new fan of the band named Maggie said, “This is what a marching band should be. Every band should learn from them.”
“Others should also follow this,” said Maggie, pointing at the words “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” on the Falun Gong flyer.
The Tian Guo band was also praised by Chinese attendees.
“It is great!” said Ms. Lu, who videotaped the band’s performances. She said she practiced the Falun Gong exercises for a while with her mother when she was a teenager.
“I’d like to start practicing again. Where can I find an exercise site?” she asked, and was given the information for the local practice sites.