Falun Gong practitioners were invited to take part in the 16th International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held by the York Regional Police.
The annual event, held this year on April 9, 2018, showcases the tremendous cultural diversity of the York area, a large metropolitan community north of Toronto. The day’s events included live performances, ethnic foods, and educational displays.
Many visitors stopped by the Falun Gong booth, interested in learning more about this traditional spiritual practice from China. Quite a few participants learned the Falun Gong exercises from the practitioners.
Falun Gong, a mind-body cultivation practice taught in China since 1992, is now practiced by people in over 100 countries and regions throughout the world. In 1999 the Chinese regime started a campaign to persecute Falun Gong practitioners, and the persecution is still ongoing in China.
Celebrating International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has become a local tradition in the York area over the past 16 years, and a large number of local groups participate in the event. York Regional Police have the goal of stimulating communication and understanding among the various ethnic groups in the community.
Falun Gong practitioners have been active participants for many years and have developed a good rapport with the York Regional Police. The support for Falun Gong shown by the York Regional Police stands in stark contrast to what occurs in China, where Falun Gong practitioners are routinely arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned by the police.
Eric Jolliffe, York Regional Police Chief, attended the event with elected and other municipal officials. The police chief stopped at the Falun Gong booth to shake hands and greet the practitioners. He thanked everyone for participating in the event.
Inspector Ricky Veerappan was glad to see Falun Gong practitioners at the event. He condemned the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, noting that such persecution is not allowed in Canada. He added that the police are there to protect the community and practitioners’ rights and belief.
Officer Ahrenas has a very positive impression of Falun Gong because of practitioners’ actively taking part in community events for the past many years. Ahrenas said that such active participation brings the community together and means a lot towards maintaining the tradition of Canada’s diverse culture.
Mr. Naushad Hirji, from Markham, told the practitioners that he was amazed by the powerful energy field when they demonstrated the exercises. He left his contact information and offered to provide the practitioners with a place to teach Falun Gong to people in his community.
Jeannette, a visitor at the event, was very curious about Falun Gong. Practitioners talked to her about the practice and taught her the exercises. She was very excited and left her contact information, hoping to take part in upcoming educational sessions.
Mr. Liu, from China, now studying in Canada, stopped by the Falun Gong booth to pick up some literature. He wanted to learn more about Falun Gong and thanked the practitioners for the information. Liu had spoken with practitioners at other Falun Gong events around the world, and understands how the persecution in China is wrong. He said that Falun Gong practitioners are very different from the propaganda shown in China’s media.