Falun Dafa Practitioners Hold Parade in San Francisco to Celebrate World Falun Dafa Day

Jason Blair
By Jason Blair
May 9, 2023California

SAN FRANCISCO—Approximately 400 Falun Dafa practitioners participated in a grand parade in San Francisco on May 6, celebrating the upcoming World Falun Dafa Day on May 13.

May 13 is the anniversary of the day the Chinese spiritual practice Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) was introduced to the public in 1992. It is also the birthday of Falun Dafa founder Mr. Li Hongzhi, who is turning 72 this year.

The parade started in Harry Bridges Plaza and marched along Market Street and Kearny Street toward Portsmouth Square.

The Tian Guo Marching Band, which is mainly composed of Falun Dafa practitioners, was first in the parade line. Next was a dragon dance team as well as various banners and signs celebrating Falun Dafa Day and Mr. Li’s birthday.

Organizer Joel Eng told The Epoch Times that Falun Dafa practitioners try to become better people every day by following the practice’s three main principles: truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.

“If everyone follows these principles … the world will be at peace,” he said.

The practice also includes five meditative exercises. In the 1990s, it became widely known in China for its physical and mental health benefits.

“It’s really good for people’s health,” Eng said. “Also, people feel their moral standard uplifted. … Life has a new meaning.”

Practitioner Linda Campbell told The Epoch Times: “People have tremendous health benefits as a result of the practice.”

She said she always thought she was a happy person, but she’s happier after starting to practice Falun Dafa.

“I just feel more comfortable inside myself, because we’ve been given a way to look inside when problems come up, and you know how to resolve them,” Campbell said.

After Falun Dafa’s public debut in China in 1992, the practice spread quickly throughout the country. By 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) estimated there were close to 100 million people practicing it in China.

In July 1999, the CCP began to violently persecute Falun Dafa practitioners by harassing, imprisoning, and killing them and by using media to spread propaganda slandering the practice. The persecution has continued to this day.

Chris Kitze, who has been practicing Falun Gong for 15 years and works as an entrepreneur, said one of the purposes of the parade is to let people know about the persecution.

Kitze told The Epoch Times: “It’s a very sad thing. People have been persecuted to death; they’ve been arrested for meditating in China. So we’re hopeful that the persecution will come to an end.”

Zhibin Gao, a refugee from mainland China who landed in the United States a month ago, joined the parade. He told The Epoch Times he’s proud to see that these Falun Gong practitioners are able to celebrate outside China.

“As part of Chinese culture, it thrives outside of China; they can have belief of their own choice,” he said.

Another refugee joining the parade was Jianping Hao from the city of Zhengzhou, China.

“I am so excited and happy to be able to join the parade,” Mr. Hao told The Epoch Times. “It’s unimaginable in mainland China—not to mention the parade for Falun Gong, I am afraid I will disappear even when I show my support of Falun Gong.”

In the Harry Bridges Plaza before the parade, nearby resident Veronica Chung said she became interested in Falun Dafa after she learned the personal story of a female Falun Dafa practitioner who had had struggles getting pregnant.

“I’m currently 37 and working through a lot of trauma to heal before I bring a child into this world,” Chung told The Epoch Times. “She was telling me all the ways that this practice is beneficial and could be beneficial in my life.”

Chung said she planned to check out the Falun Dafa books.

“The heart to heart is what matters to me, and seeing people’s heart and how it transformed their lives, that’s what I’m curious about,” she said.

Jason Blair contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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