(Minghui.org) June 26 is United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. On the morning of June 22, 2024, Falun Gong practitioners in New Zealand did the exercises and held a rally at Elizabeth Square in downtown Auckland to tell people about the ongoing persecution of their faith by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Practitioners did the exercises at Elizabeth Square in downtown Auckland on June 22, 2024.

Human rights lawyer Kerry Gore and Finlay Smith spoke at the rally to express their support. Practitioners and democracy activists spoke of how they were persecuted by the CCP and the torture they went through.

At 1 p.m, led by the Tian Guo Marching Band, practitioners marched along Queen street in the city center. Many people learned the facts about the persecution through the rally and parade, and they expressed their support and admiration for practitioners’ 25-year-long peaceful protest against the atrocities practitioners are subjected to in China.

Practitioners marched along Queen street in the city center to peacefully protest the CCP’s torture and persecution.


Human Rights Lawyer in New Zealand Urges the CCP to Refrain from Torture 

Kerry Gore, a human rights lawyer in New Zealand, came to the rally to show his support for Falun Gong. He said: “Today, we observe United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, June 26. On 12 December 1997, by resolution 52/149, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 26 June the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, with a view to the total eradication of torture and the effective functioning of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

“As a refugee lawyer, I have helped asylum seekers from many countries fleeing persecution. Most of those asylum seekers have been, and continue to be, from the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese Communist Party makes widespread use of torture. The CCP also uses torture in the course of persecuting different groups in China. These groups include pro-democracy advocates, Chinese human rights lawyers, human rights defenders, house church Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners, to name only a few. Torture is therefore used to instill fear, crush dissent, and exercise power and control over the populace.”

Mr. Gore added that respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, the free exercise of civil liberties, and the observance of the rule of law will come only when the CCP has gone. He hopes people can encourage their respective Members of Parliament to call on the CCP and other repressive regimes, to retain from the use of torture. “Please speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,” he said.

Kerry Gore, a human rights lawyer in New Zealand hopes everyone can speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.


We Don’t Want Communist Ideology

Finlay Smith is a New Zealand citizen who frequently attends public events. In his speech at the rally, he said: “Communism in China is a failure because it relies on suppression and persecuting people to exist. It oppresses and bullies people. When will New Zealanders be prepared to step out for these victims? When your child is bullied at school, would you turn a blind eye to the bully or stand up for your child? Furthermore, such intimidation has gone on for too long.”

He thought the CCP is infiltrating the New Zealand government. The current situation is also a question for New Zealanders to think of, do you want to become a Communist country? Or do you choose to continue to remain silent and in the end be dragged into Communist ideology?

He said, “The CCP controls the media with repressive measures, sending innocent people to prison, killing and torturing them. This cannot be condoned. If we don’t stand up for them today, then one day, Communist ideology will come to this place.”

He concluded by saying, “I thank Falun Gong practitioners for stepping out for all of us in New Zealand. I want to express my deepest respect. Your courage surpasses many New Zealanders. On this world stage, people in New Zealand should clearly say: ‘We don’t want Communism’.”

Finlay Smith thanked practitioners for their courage in exposing the CCP’s crimes against human rights.


The CCP Persecutes People of Faith

Carl Brickle and his wife Janalla who are from Timaru, a small town in New Zealand loved the performance by the Tian Guo Marching Band. Both of them are Catholics. Janalla said, “We know many evil things are happening in China. Both of us are Catholics and we are aware of the religious persecution in China. However, we didn’t know about the persecution of Falun Gong. The CCP is attached to the devil. They suppress groups with faith and forbid people from believing in God. Yet, everyone should have the right to freedom of belief!”

Carl has visited China and when he saw practitioners display banners with the message, “Stop organ harvesting.” He said, “I understand this is indeed taking place in China, many people in New Zealand probably aren’t aware, they may not believe something like this is actually happening. When I was in China, I could feel the pressure, the regime’s tyranny is terrible.”

The couple loved the values taught by Falun Gong “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance.” They want to tell practitioners, “You are doing a great job, we will pray for practitioners. You should hold onto hope. God loves everyone, this persecution is not what God wants.”

Carl Brickle and his wife Janalla thought Falun Gong practitioners did a great job.


We Support You Wholeheartedly

Tim Saxton who is from Bay of Plenty manages a fire fighting system installation business. He was full of praise for Falun Gong and supported practitioners’ activities.He said, “You are brave and remarkable to stand up and oppose them (CCP). We grew up in New Zealand and it’s a different country from Communist China therefore it is hard to understand the regime’s control as well as suppression. They sell people’s organs for money—this is crazy and unbelievable.”

He continued, “My family and I completely support your activities. Falun Gong is fabulous, Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance are what every one of us needs.”

Before leaving, he said, “If you stop fighting, you will never win. You must keep doing what you are doing. You are great and courageous. We support you wholeheartedly.”


Never Give up Hope

Gurkirat Singh who works in the Auckland transport department said he often sees practitioners doing the exercises in the city center and Newmarket commercial district. He thought they were peaceful.

“The values of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance which Falun Gong is based on, are 100 percent what people need. They benefit all of us including children.”

When he learned of the persecution in China, he said, “This is totally inhuman. I think they (the CCP) want to control people because once you walk on this path (of cultivation) and truly understand the meaning of life, they will have no way to control you because you know what you came here for.

“Everyone should stand up to oppose this persecution, this should be discussed internationally, and the New Zealand government should also voice out their concerns.”

Finally, he encouraged practitioners: “Keep on doing what you are doing now, I wish you success. Never give up hope, I sincerely hope one day the persecution will end.”


Passersby Found Peace Through Learning the Exercises

Many people learned the exercises that day. Mahtab who is from Iran said she has difficulty focusing due to anxiety and always wanted to change her condition. Her family suggested she try meditating.

She was impressed to see so many practitioners doing the exercises that day and could not help saying excitedly, “Wow! It’s beautiful, and I’m interested. These people appear so calm it makes me want to join in.”

She thought the values of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance were excellent and learned the exercises on the spot. She said, “The energy field is strong when everyone does the exercises together. It makes me feel peaceful”

Mahtab (right) learned the exercises diligently.