Falun Dafa practitioners in Sydney celebrated World Falun Dafa Day on May 13 with festivities including a marching band and a parade of people wearing bright yellow shirts across the city.
This year marked the 29th anniversary since Falun Dafa was introduced to the public in 1992, and is also the 7oth birthday of Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of the spiritual practice.
Falun Dafa, also called Falun Gong, is a meditation discipline first introduced in northern China in 1992, that features teachings based on three core principles, truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, along with a set of slow-moving exercises meant to uplift both mental and physical health.
Around 70-100 million people had taken up the practice by 1999, when the atheist Chinese regime saw its immense popularity as a threat to its rule. Beginning from July that year, millions have been thrown into jail or other detention facilities, where they have been punished with torture and slave labour, and have had their organs harvested, killing them, for persisting in their faith.
Western Australia Liberal Senator Dean Smith, the government whip in the Senate, gave his support for the group in a letter.
“Your community continues to endure terrible abuse, torture, and persecution and I stand with you in your peaceful fight to live and practise your faith freely,” Smith wrote.
“Now, more than ever, Falun Dafa’s message of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance are an example to all of us—in Australia and around the world.
“On this World Falun Dafa Day, we celebrate the Falun Dafa mission to make society a healthier and more harmonious place.”
Speaking at the event, Ganesh Loke, who was a federal election candidate for Parramatta in 2013 and in 2019, and a local community leader, emphasised the threat of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to the world.
“Look what the Chinese Communist Party has done through the bioterrorism of COVID-19 pandemic,” Loke said. “Millions of people have lost their lives due to this coronavirus, which is a direct or indirect product of Chinese Community Party’s evil agenda.
“If we still think that this Community party of China is not affecting us, then look at the destruction caused by this COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, U.S., India and around the world.”
“We all must wake up and strongly oppose China’s communist government. They have the blood on their hands,” he added.
A total of 12 local government councillors, MPs, and community leaders either spoke at the gathering or sent letters of support, including the Parramatta City Council, which wrote to extend its best wishes.
Local Shirley Burge admired the courage it took for Falun Gong practitioners to stand up to China’s communist regime.
“I’m just terrified of the persecution of the government,” she said. “I think these people are all very brave because the Chinese government has ways and means of getting back at people who don’t do as they’re told.”
She and her friend liked Falun Dafa’s core principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, saying it would be nice “if we all had a bit of that.”
Vietnamese practitioner Ha Huynh and her family drove for six hours from Armidale to Sydney to join the parade.
Ha began practising Falun Dafa in 2017 while undertaking her PhD, which was taking a mental and physical toll on her. A friend introduced the practice and exercises to her and she found her health improved overall, so she persuaded her family to give it a try.
Inspired by the benefits she gained from practising, Ha felt a six-hour drive was worth it to be able to join the parade and share the practice with others in Sydney.
“That’s why every year we drive [for] six hours from Armidale to Sydney,” she said.
When Tony Liu was still in Mainland China he used to watch videos of the Tianguo marching band participating in Falun Dafa parades around the world, and it moved him to tears. “I was like, shocked. Really, really shocked,” Liu said.
After coming to Australia in 2013, Liu joined the marching band and began practising the euphonium, an instrument he knew nothing about before.
Liu said it is unbelievable for him, who always lacked persistence before, to start from scratch and now became an official player in the band.
“I want to convey the beauty of Falun Dafa through the music,” he said. “To let people know that Falun Dafa is not what [is] described by the CCP. If it’s really bad as what the CCP said, there won’t be so many people practising it.
“I hope more people can learn more about it, and benefit from it,” he said.
World Falun Dafa Day also falls on the birthday of Falun Dafa’s founder, Mr Li Hongzhi, who is respectfully referred to as Master Li.
“I really thank Master,” Liu said. “We have a song today to express our appreciation for Master. That’s our common heartfelt wishes.”
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