Thousands Gathered in Taiwan for Tradition Now Banned in Mainland China

By Frank Fang

TAIPEI, Taiwan—A giant world map appeared at Taiwan’s Liberty Square in Taipei on Nov. 16 after three days of intensive labor and preparation.

The map and seven Chinese characters were assembled by about 6,500 adherents of the Buddha-school spiritual discipline Falun Gong, some of whom traveled to Taiwan to join in the spectacle.

Dressed in either blue, yellow, or white, they took up seats on color-coordinated mats that made up an outline of the image.

Falun Gong practitioners
About 6,500 adherents do a meditative exercise together following a character formation in Taipei, Taiwan, on Nov. 16, 2019. (Gong An-ni/The Epoch Times)

Above the map were the words “truthfulness,” “compassion,” and “forbearance” in traditional Chinese characters. The words summarize the moral teachings of Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa. Above the characters were rays of yellow light.

Beneath the map were four other Chinese characters, which translate to mean, “The Great Law spreads vast and wide.” The short phrase is to point out how people from over 110 countries have taken up Falun Gong since it was first introduced to the public in China in 1992.

Taiwan Falun Gong
About 6,500 adherents of Falun Gong take part in a character formation in Taipei, Taiwan, on Nov. 16, 2019. (Chen Po-chou/The Epoch Times)

The character formation, which has become an annual tradition for Falun Gong adherents in Taiwan, has always drawn support from other countries, Huang said. This year, about 1,150 adherents came from 18 countries and regions all over the world, including Canada, Israel, Germany, Argentina, the United States, Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

Over the last three days, hundreds of adherents manually placed the colored round mats in Liberty Square in preparation for the character formation.

About 6,500 adherents do a meditative exercise
About 6,500 adherents do a meditative exercise together following a character formation in Taipei, Taiwan, on Nov. 16, 2019. (Chen Po-chou/The Epoch Times)

Huang Chun-mei, event organizer and deputy chairman of the Taiwan Falun Dafa Association, explained that the annual character formation has been a very good for supporting persecuted Falun Gong adherents in China, as those in Taiwan share about the physical and spiritual benefits of Falun Gong, as well as the truth of the reason behind the persecution in China with passersby.

As for why the event was being held at Liberty Square, which is named for its role in the island’s transition from one-party rule to democracy, Huang explained that the public space draws a lot of international tourists, particularly those from mainland China.

He said that the large-scale character formation at this location has helped people understand the extent and crimes of the ongoing persecution suffered by adherents at the hands of the communist regime in China, in stark contrast to Falun Gong in Taiwan.

During the annual character formation, adherents gather to remember the freedoms enjoyed by the group in China before the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began persecuting the practice in mainland China in 1999. Prior to the persecution, adherents in China would hold similar large-scale character formations. There were about 70 million to 100 million adherents in China, according to official estimates.

Falun Gong practitioners practice a meditation exercise in Beijing, China before the persecution began on July 20, 1999. (Minghui.org)
Falun Gong practitioners practice a meditation exercise in Beijing, China before the persecution began on July 20, 1999. (Minghui.org)

Then, former CCP leader Jiang Zemin, feeling threatened by the practice’s enormous popularity, ordered a nationwide persecution beginning on July 20, 1999. Since then, thousands have been thrown into prisons, brainwashing centers, and labor camps in an effort to force the adherents into give up the practice.

Mr. Liu, a Chinese tourist visiting Taiwan for the second time, told The Epoch Times that he admires Falun Gong adherents in China since they are able to uphold their faith in the face of the CCP’s persecution.

Liu added that some Chinese citizens hold biased views of Falun Gong adherents due to the CCP’s propaganda. He said that initially, he also did not believe reports about the CCP harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience—particularly adherents of Falun Gong.

He elaborated that he had filmed the character formation and will bring the video back to China to let other people see how popular the practice is outside the country.

Huang Tzu-ling, a Falun Gong adherent and first-year student at the Department of Radio, Television, and Film at Taiwan’s Shih Hsin University, told The Epoch Times that she has taken part in many character formation events over the year.

Huang said she always felt happy seeing members of the public take photos of the character formation and learn more about the practice beyond the CCP’s propaganda.

The Taiwan bureau of The Epoch Times contributed to the report.

From The Epoch Times