Falun Gong practitioners in Kumamoto traveled to Okinawa to hold a signature drive on February 23-25, 2018. The prefecture is nearly 1,000 km from Kumamoto and located in the southernmost part of Japan, between Kyushu Island and Taiwan.
The petition was to support the global effort to bring to justice former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin who initiated the persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice based on Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Okinawa’s stunning natural environment and warm subtropical climate make it a popular destination for vacationers worldwide all year round.
For the sake of overseas tourists, the practitioners prepared multilingual materials, including some in English, Vietnamese, Nepali, and Korean in addition to Japanese and Chinese.
Many people took informational flyers and signed the petition supporting the lawsuit against Jiang.
Japanese People: “It’s the First Signature in My Life”
A Japanese man in his 80s studied the information and pictures depicting the persecution of practitioners in China. He seemed upset and indicated that he couldn’t hear what practitioners were talking about.
He went to find his wife, who was nearby, and asked her to listen for him. His wife was shocked to hear about the persecution and kept saying, “It’s so cruel!” Both of them signed the petition.
At noon, two students from the high school baseball team in Shimane viewed the display and signed the petition. One of them called out to other students nearby, “This persecution is so cruel. Jiang Zemin–we can’t tolerate him. Let’s sign the petition.” Dozens of students lined up to sign the petition.
A middle-aged woman said that she had read the information given by practitioners the previous day. She said the painting that depicts the victim of live organ harvesting pained her heart. “It’s really sad!” she said. “You’ve been working hard. Keep it up!”
A man in his 60s read the informational materials and signed. He said, “I have never signed a petition before. This is the first time in my life, but because I’ve learned how cruel the persecution is, I feel I must sign.”
Chinese Tourist: “Can I have a few more fliers?”
The third day, the signature drive was met with more than 4000 Chinese tourists who traveled to Okinawa on a luxury cruise ship. Many of them took photos of the display boards. Some took informational materials from practitioners and even signed the petition.
When a group of Chinese tourists walked past the display boards and waited for traffic lights, a young woman in the group listened to a practitioner’s explanation and signed the petition despite others’ attempts to dissuade her.
A Chinese tourist who initially refused to take a flier changed his mind and asked for one. He then asked, “Can I have a few more fliers? I want to show my friends and relatives.”
Local Newspaper Covers the Signature Drive
On the second day of the signature drive, the local newspaper Ryukyu Shimpo interviewed the Falun Gong practitioners at the signature drive.
The report, titled “Calling for an End to China’s Persecution of Falun Gong,” was published in the newspaper on February 27.
The article stated that Falun Gong practitioners in Kumamoto have offered free exercise workshops in parks and public halls in Kumamoto since 2002.
The group was honored by the Kumamoto City Government in 2015 for their outstanding contributions to their communities, such as beautifying the environment and helping with earthquake disaster relief.
In stark contrast, the communist regime brutally persecutes and slanders this spiritual group in China. Amnesty International requested the unconditional release of Falun Gong practitioners detained in China, noted the report.