13 Feb 14
A solemn scene greeted passersby as Falun Gong practitioners from around the world gathered for a candlelight vigil at the Washington Monument on July 13. Mostly dressed in yellow, the practitioners were paying homage to the thousands of lives lost during the 13-year persecution of the practice in China.
Falun Gong is a spiritual meditation practice practiced around the world. At one time it was openly practiced in China, but since July 20, 1999, it has been persecuted by the country’s communist regime.
And so they came to the U.S. capital, to peacefully assemble and pay their respects to those who had died under persecution. Among them were survivors of the communist regime’s brutal torture methods, and fellow practitioners who felt compelled to show their support.
Ren Guoxian, 39, nonprofit volunteer in California
“This is for all the practitioners who have died in China. I was also severely tortured while in China. I have personally seen practitioners die at detention centers. When I see these pictures and candlelight vigils we hold, I feel a profound sadness. We all believe in truth, compassion, and tolerance, yet we receive such treatment, to the point where many have died. Although I completed my Master of Environmental Science in China, I did not receive a degree because I refused to give up my belief in Falun Gong. I am at this event to tell the world that: Falun Dafa is good; Truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance are good; stop the persecution.”
Yu Haiwen, 44, hair stylist, recent refugee from China
“I was persecuted while in China; it was a bloody experience. Close friends of mine have died in the same detention center that I was tortured at. This persecution continues today. Dafa practitioners in China have no freedom in China. They cannot attend events like these. There are so many Dafa practitioners who are still being tortured in China. My best friend, who practiced and got arrested with me, is still in jail right now. She only weighs 65 pounds now, and her legs are disabled. It is for her, and all the practitioners who are still being tortured, that I must attend all the activities, like the vigil, outside of China.”
Many Ngom, 43, fashion designer from Canada
“It’s important to be here as a Dafa practitioner. We need to do our part to show the world how devastating the persecution is. It is always moving to see so many people. I feel privileged to be here today. I wish we could do more.”
Bruno Malvino, 25, traffic technician from France
“I’m here to commemorate all the Falun Dafa practitioners that have died in jail. I have a friend who became disabled after being tortured for many years in China. He left the jail with tuberculosis.”
Jose Johny, 26, software engineer from South India
“I want the persecution to stop. The Chinese Communist Party is persecuting it based on atheist principles. I have friends whose sisters and parents have been killed. I came from India just for this.”
People passing by were struck by the serene scene, and the underlying issue of persecution.
Eric Berdan, 42, manager of Nestlé in Canada
“I think the sight is pretty impressive. We’re from Canada, so we don’t often see a lot of protests like this. This is really incredible. You can see the peacefulness of the way they’re doing it. Obviously, there’s more to it than we know. It’s good for us to learn [about the persecution], and good for my kids to learn. It’s all going to affect them later on.”
Jorge Orozco, 45, electrician from Chicago
“We are Catholic Christians. We kind of share the same feeling because many of Catholic Christians of our Church are living underground in China right now. They have been killed also. We share the same sentiment. We are trying to stay a little longer to share this vigil.”
Emily Camis, 24, public relations specialist in Virginia
“I personally think this is a better way to protest than being angry and walking around with signs. It shows that there is a lot of oppression in China that people are unaware of. We had no idea this was happening; we just happened to be biking through.
By Amelia Pang / Epoch Times Staff
The original Epoch Times article can be found here: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/world/washington-vigil-honors-sacrifice-268523.html