Hundreds of Falun Gong Practitioners in Hong Kong Commemorate 20th Anniversary of China’s Persecution

Hundreds of Falun Gong Practitioners in Hong Kong Commemorate 20th Anniversary of China’s Persecution
Falun Gong practitioners hold up a giant banner with the words “Global Opposition to Persecution” in a march in Hong Kong on July 21, 2019. (Li Yi/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners took to the streets of Hong Kong on July 21 to call for an end to China’s persecution of the spiritual practice.

The practitioners, most of them dressed in yellow T-shirts, marched from King’s Road Playground in the North Point neighborhood to the Liaison Office, Beijing’s representative office in Hong Kong.

Most attending were locals in Hong Kong, while Falun Gong practitioners from other parts of Asia, including Taiwan, also came to participate.

They held up different-colored giant banners, with phrases such as “The World Needs Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance,” “Stop the Persecution of Falun Gong,” and “Put Jiang Zemin on Trial.”

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice involving slow, meditative exercises, and a set of moral teachings based on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.

Beijing’s persecution began on July 20, 1999, when then-paramount leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Jiang Zemin mobilized the country’s entire security apparatus to locate, arrest, and detain Falun Gong practitioners.

Jiang had viewed the practice’s enormous popularity—practitioners numbering 70 million to 100 million people, according to official estimates cited by Western media outlets at the time—as a threat to the Party’s rule.

Today, Falun Gong practitioners are still arrested and sentenced to prisons, jails, and brainwashing centers, where they are subjected to physical and psychological abuses in an attempt to force them to give up their faith.

Though Hong Kong reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997, the city still safeguards freedom of religion and people in Hong Kong are free to practice Falun Gong.

On the morning of July 21 prior to the march, a rally was held at Edinburgh Place, a public square in the Central district, to raise awareness about the plight of Falun Gong practitioners in mainland China.

Among the speakers was Leung Kwok-hung, a former Hong Kong lawmaker, who said that the Falun Gong persecution demonstrates that the Chinese regime’s nature is to suppress anyone who express dissent against the Party.

“What has happened to Falun Gong practitioners will also likely happen to other people,” Leung said, explaining that as Hongkongers have recently protested against a controversial extradition bill, they are becoming aware of how Beijing views all dissidents as their “enemies.”

“More and more Hongkongers will then support and participate in efforts to challenge the Chinese regime’s authoritarianism,” Leung said.

Millions of Hongkongers have taken to the streets since mid-June, protesting against a bill that many fear would place people of any nationality at risk of being extradited to China, where an opaque legal system often disregards rule of law and punishes Beijing’s critics.

Leung added that he admired Falun Gong practitioners’ steadfastness in raising awareness for the past 20 years.

Some passerby stopped to express their support for Falun Gong, including Mr. Wong, who said that in recent years, he had seen about eight different Falun Gong marches in Hong Kong, all of them peaceful.

Mr. Chen, 78, said that he admired Falun Gong practitioners for their goodness. He added that it was very important that they could express themselves freely in Hong Kong.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the persecution, marches and rallies have been held in multiple cities around the world, including Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Taipei, Kyoto, Seoul, Paris, Toronto, and Ottawa.

In Taipei on July 20, over 2,000 local Falun Gong practitioners held a candlelight vigil in front of the Taipei City government building to remember those who have lost their lives in the persecution.

According to Minghui.org, a clearinghouse of information about China’s persecution, there are 4,326 confirmed deaths of Falun Gong practitioners as of July 2019. The true number is likely to be much higher due to the difficulty of getting sensitive information out of China.

The Hong Kong bureau of The Epoch Times contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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