The Frankfurt Book Fair is the largest and most important international book fair, drawing publishers, booksellers, librarians, academics, illustrators, service providers, film producers, professional and trade associations, artists, authors, antiquarians, and software and multimedia suppliers from around the world. It has been held in Frankfurt every October since 1949, but the sale of manuscripts and books in the area can be traced back over 500 years.
The 69th annual book fair was held at the Frankfurt Trade Fair grounds and more than 7,000 exhibitors participated. Among them, over 170 exhibitors were from China.
Falun Gong practitioners and Tuidang volunteers took the opportunity of reaching such a large, multinational audience, setting up a stand during the five-day book fair. With exercise demonstrations, posters, and literature, they introduced Falun Gong and exposed the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution to book fair exhibitors and visitors.
Chinese Exhibitors Quit Membership in the CCP
A Chinese student talked with a practitioner for a while at the fair entrance. He said that he hadn’t known about the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong before coming abroad. After talking with practitioners, he quit his membership in the CCP and its affiliated organizations. The student expressed interest in Falun Gong and said that he wished to learn it.
Several practitioners distributed Falun Gong informational materials to the Chinese exhibitors at the fairgrounds. Most of them were pleased to accept the newspapers published by Falun Gong practitioners. A number of them renounced the CCP and its affiliated organizations on the spot.
An older man listened to a practitioner talking to an exhibitor and said that he was of Chinese descent. He was interested in Falun Gong and knew something about the CCP’s atrocities in the persecution. He asked questions and said that he wished to read some Falun Gong books. A practitioner lent him her personal copy of a Falun Gong book. He was very pleased to receive it and began reading the book immediately while still at the Falun Gong stand.
A Chinese woman listened to a practitioner talking about the persecution. She appeared startled and said that she had not heard of the brutal 18-year persecution in China. The practitioner explained to her why it is important for Chinese people to renounce the CCP. She agreed to quit her membership in the Communist Youth League. She smiled and expressed appreciation for the practitioners’ efforts.
Reaching Out to Chinese Tourists
Chinese participants in the book fair also spent time shopping and sightseeing in Frankfurt. Falun Gong practitioners displayed a large banner worded “The CCP is not equivalent to China” drew a great deal of interest.
Many Chinese people appeared to be surprised when they saw the banner. Some took photos and some talked amongst themselves in low voices. Some smiled.
One person asked a volunteer, “How is it that the CCP is not China?” The practitioner replied, “China’s 5,000-year traditional culture teaches people to follow courtesy, wisdom, benevolence, righteousness, and faith. The CCP’s theory is from the West and stresses violence, totalitarian control, lies, and struggle, which are contrary to the Chinese traditional culture. The CCP has damaged traditional Chinese culture and values in its over 60 years of control of China.” The Chinese visitor needed in agreement.
Several tourists read the posters about Falun Gong. A couple in their 60s showed sadness and concern when they saw images of the torture the practitioners face in China. They asked if the torture was true. A volunteer told them: “In the persecution of Falun Gong, the regime has imprisoned hundreds of thousands of practitioners. They even conduct state-sanctioned organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners. Many of the perpetrators have committed the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and crimes of torture.”
The woman said, “Yes. We hate Jiang Zemin (the former CCP leader who initiated the persecution of Falun Gong). He made China a mess.” She took a stack of Chinese informational materials from the practitioner and said that she would read them carefully.
There were many young visitors from China at the book fair. One of the youths said, “Let me take a look at the informational materials. We were not allowed to read about this in China. Now we can find out about things without restriction.”