(Minghui.org) Falun Dafa practitioners held a candlelight vigil outside the Chinese Consulate in Manhattan on the evening of July 16, 2023. They mourned Dafa practitioners in China who lost their lives in the persecution by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and called on the international community to work together to end the 24-year-long suppression, which has been ongoing since July 20, 1999.
Next to the practitioners were banners emblazoned with “Falun Dafa,” “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” “Stop Persecuting Falun Gong,” and “End the CCP.” Vehicles with LED signs displaying information on rejecting the CCP circled around the Chinese Consulate on 12th Avenue.
Hundreds of practitioners quietly did the Falun Dafa exercises in front of the Chinese Consulate. As dusk arrived, they lit candles amid solemn songs and a poetry reading. Impressed by the scene, a number of New Yorkers and tourists stopped to watch, take photos, and talk with practitioners to learn more about the persecution.
The practice of Falun Dafa has not always been under persecution in China. After Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) was introduced to the public in 1992, the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, along with Dafa’s mental and physical benefits, were well received by the general public in China and elsewhere. As the number of practitioners exceeded CCP members, however, former CCP leader Jiang Zemin launched a systematic, nationwide suppression. Many practitioners were detained and tortured, while some died or even became victims of the regime’s forced organ harvesting.
Justice Will Prevail
Yi Rong from the Global Service Center for Quitting the CCP (Tuidang Center) said the persecution was close to an end. Over the past 24 years, practitioners in both China and overseas have worked tirelessly to let the world know what Falun Gong is and debunk the CCP’s defamatory propaganda. Many human rights advocates and democracy activists have praised practitioners for their efforts. Some have said that Falun Gong practitioners expose the CCP’s brutality and lies not for themselves, but for all Chinese people.
Through the CCP’s political campaigns of the past few decades, including the one against Falun Gong, more and more people are recognizing the regime’s vicious nature, Yi added. Right now, 415 million Chinese people have renounced their membership in the CCP including its junior organizations the Communist Youth League and the Young Pioneers. This is a step toward a China without the CCP. “Many people in the Chinese government agencies have also recognized this. Some have fled China or transferred their asset overseas,” Yi said. “The best way for self-protection when the regime is weeded out by history is to quit the CCP organizations.”
People of Different Backgrounds Drawn to the Practice
A young Chinese man stood by the river and quietly watched practitioners as they did the exercises. He said he often watched NTD Television and had seen the parade in Chinatown the day before. “I am interested in learning the practice and I want to do something to help you [practitioners],” he said. A practitioner suggested he tell others about Falun Gong and that he could learn more about the practice by going to the FalunDafa.org website. The man was grateful and said he would.
An African-American girl stopped by the event and said she could feel energy as practitioners did the exercises. She videotaped the event with her cell phone.
Ethan said he was a Jew and worked in Washington DC. He was impressed by the candlelight vigil and talked with a practitioner for a long time. He left his contact information and hoped to do something to help end the persecution.
Chinese version available