Falun Gong Practitioners Demonstrate Exercises at the Opening Ceremony of the Asia Sports Festival in 1998
(Clearwisdom.net) Since being introduced by its founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi, in China in 1992, Falun Gong has become popular because of its profound Buddha Fa and miraculous healing power. [Note: According to the Chinese government's statistics, there were more than 100 million followers by 1999.] In Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, as everywhere, the number of Falun Gong practitioners rose simply by word of mouth. In many households, the entire family practiced Falun Gong. Before July 1999, people in Shenyang City had a positive perception of Falun Gong and many government agencies also had a positive attitude towards Falun Gong.
Every early morning before July 20, 1999, Falun Gong exercise music was heard in major parks and public squares of Shenyang City where people practiced Falun Gong. To introduce Falun Gong to more people, Falun Gong practitioners in Shenyang voluntarily organized activities to promote Falun Gong. We would typically use Sunday mornings to have a group practice to exhibit Falun Gong exercises at public parks and public squares with many visitors. We displayed handmade posters that described Falun Gong where we demonstrated the exercises. When people were interested in learning Falun Gong, we taught them the exercises for free and told them where to get Falun Gong books. We occasionally organized a large group practice or participated in activities organized by the Chinese government, but not often.
I started practicing Falun Gong in 1996 and was fortunate to participate in three large-scale group practices. I first participated in a group practice with several thousand practitioners from Huanggu District, Shenyang City, at Huanggu District Stadium. After the group practice, we donated Zhuan Falun and other Falun Gong books to the Huanggu District Sports Committee. Next I joined the 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners in a group practice in Shenyang City in 1998. I also joined 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners in a group practice at the opening ceremony of the Asia Sports Festival. I would like to share my memory of the latter two events.
1. 10,000 Falun Gong Practitioners Demonstrated the Falun Gong Exercises in front of Liaoning Industrial Exhibition Hall
10,000 Falun Gong practitioners demonstrate the Falun Gong exercises in front of Liaoning Industrial Exhibition Hall in May 1998
On a morning in May 1998, about 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners in Shenyang City demonstrated the Falun Gong exercises at the square in front of Liaoning Industrial Exhibition Hall. Despite the large number of practitioners, everything was quiet and orderly at the square. Most practitioners didn't even know each other.
When it was time to start demonstrating the Falun Gong exercises, the coordinator made the announcement through a microphone and instructed everyone to make a formation. We quickly got in lines and started doing the exercises along with the Falun Gong exercise music. We demonstrated the four standing exercises, followed by 30 minutes of sitting meditation. It was quiet and peaceful. Afterwards, we left with our meditation mats quietly. Many Falun Gong practitioners stayed behind voluntarily to pick up any litter from the crowd that watched our exercise demonstration. I even saw a practitioner picking up a completely flattened cigarette from the ground and throwing it in the trash can. No one instructed them to do this. We picked up the trash voluntarily. This is because we had learned from Falun Gong's teaching that a practitioner should conduct himself/herself well at all times, including keeping our environment clean.
The public square in front of Liaoning Industrial Exhibition Hall ended up cleaner than before the 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners were there. This is very similar to Falun Gong practitioners' appeal to the State Appeals Office in Beijing on April 25, 1999. While waiting for their turn to appeal for Falun Gong at the State Appeals Office in Beijing, Falun Gong practitioners stood quietly in an orderly manner on the sidewalk. When they left, they picked up all the trash and cigarettes left by the pedestrians and police. Even the police officers were deeply moved. China's state-run media later said that Falun Gong practitioners had besieged Zhongnanhai (the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China and the Central People's Government of China) on April 25, but this was a complete falsehood. [Note: Falun Gong practitioners were waiting in line for their turn to appeal to the State Appeals Office on Fuyou Street, which is right outside of Zhongnanhai.]
2. Falun Gong Practitioners Joined the Opening Ceremony of Asia Sports Festival in Shenyang in August 1998
Falun Gong practitioners entered the opening ceremony of the Asia Sports Festival in Shenyang, Liaoning Province in August 1998
The Asia Sports Committee and Shenyang City government held the Asia Sports Festival in Shenyang City in August 1998 to promote qigong. Twenty-seven qigong schools, including Falun Gong, were invited to the opening ceremony of Asia Sports Committee in Shenyang City People's Stadium on the morning of August 20, 1998.
At about 5:00 a.m. on August 20, Falun Gong practitioners arrived at the stadium. People from other qigong schools arrived later. There was ample time before the opening ceremony would start, so we quietly waited outside the stadium. Some started reading Falun Gong books. There was a sharp contrast between quiet Falun Gong practitioners and the rowdy students from other qigong schools. We later decided to practice the Falun Gong exercises together while waiting for the ceremony to begin.
At about 7:00 a.m., the practitioners from different qigong schools that participated in the opening ceremony as audience members entered the stadium first. 1500 Falun Gong practitioners sat among the audience and formed the words "Falun Gong" in Chinese characters.
The opening ceremony commenced at 9:00 a.m. Representatives from different qigong schools entered the stadium. A few dozen Falun Gong practitioners in golden outfits entered the stadium in a square formation and demonstrated the beautiful Falun Gong standing exercises, followed by the sitting meditation. The ceremony lasted for six hours. It was mid-August with blazing sun above our heads, but we sat up straight throughout the ceremony. No one chitchatted, walked about or made any noise. Many practitioners were reading Zhuan Falun. Journalists from different media were drawn to Falun Gong and took photographs. Some reporters interviewed Falun Gong practitioners, who shared the health benefits of Falun Gong they had experienced.
Many media reported on the opening ceremony. In its report titled, "A Festival of Life" on August 28, 1998, China Youth News, over 400 of the 1,200 words in the article were about Falun Gong. The report also included two photos featuring Falun Gong. What follows is an English translation of the three paragraphs transcribed from the report:
"The formation in the audience made by 1,500 Falun Gong practitioners was quite impressive. Despite the blazing sun, they sat up straight for six consecutive hours and remained orderly and dignified throughout the ceremony. When our reporters approached the Falun Gong practitioners, they enthusiastically shared how they had benefited from practicing Falun Gong. Ms. Liu Juxian, 44, was previously bed-ridden because of hip bone problems, and felt she would be better off dead. In the summer of 1996, her older sister introduced Falun Gong to her. She has been practicing Falun Gong since. She can now walk, run and jump freely. She walked in nimbly at the opening ceremony.
"Ms. Wang Xiaoyan, nearly 70, is a medical doctor retired from Shenyang Medical College. She used to suffer from more than ten illnesses, including coronary heart disease, asthma, and pulmonary emphysema. She had to check into the hospital every year. In addition, she had to have an oxygen tank ready at work and at home because her life depended on it. A work-related injury caused a hip bone fracture. As a result, she had to use a crutch to walk. Since she started practicing Falun Gong in the spring of 1996, she no longer had to depend on a large intake of daily medicine. She has become a physically healthy Falun Gong practitioner.
"Professor Chen Guihua, 64, was a music teacher retired from Shenyang Music Conservatory. She previously suffered from coronary heart disease and hypertension. Practicing Falun Gong restored her health. The story of her health recovery has attracted more than 50 celebrities to practice Falun Gong. Even Mr. Ding Ming, the famous principal of Shenyang Music Conservatory, has been joining the group practice of Falun Gong exercises every morning. It is quite moving that Professor Chen receives only 600 yuan of pension, but she has donated 1,760 yuan every year to sponsor Cheng Hu from a low-income family. She made an agreement to sponsor the student for three years, which has cost her more than 5,000 yuan."
Chinese news report and photos about the Asia Sports Festival in Shenyang City published by China Youth News on August 28, 1998
Falun Gong was well received and popular since its introduction in China in 1992, and many Chinese media reported positively about Falun Gong. However, Jiang Zemin and the Chinese Communist government began to suppress Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, despite its many benefits to the Chinese people and the county. The state-run media in China has subsequently produced many fraudulent reports about Falun Gong to justify the Chinese Communist regime's persecution of the practice. With World Falun Dafa Day on May 13 around the corner, I would like to share my personal experiences of participating in the two aforementioned large events as a Falun Gong practitioner, to help more people know that Falun Gong was very popular in China before July 20, 1999. I also hope that the world will not be deceived by the Chinese Communist Party's lies about Falun Gong, and that the world's people will have a wonderful future.