The past 23 years in China were no ordinary times. While everything appeared normal with the usual hustle and bustle in society, a large number of innocent people were being detained and tortured for their faith inside the detention centers, labor camps, and prisons.
Since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began its persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, numerous practitioners have been targeted for striving to be good citizens. Many detained practitioners were subjected to physical torture, forced labor, mental abuse, involuntary drug administration, and even forced organ harvesting.
In March 1995, Mr. Li Hongzhi, Falun Dafa’s founder, was invited to give a seminar at the Chinese Embassy in France. In 1999, Mr. Li held a lecture session in Paris bringing Falun Gong to the world. By 1999, the practice had attracted about 100 million people from nearly 30 countries.
But the totalitarian Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime could not tolerate such a peaceful practice whose students outnumbered CCP members. In July 1999, then CCP leader Jiang Zemin launched a nationwide suppression. However, Falun Gong practitioners have never wavered in their faith or stopped raising awareness of the illegality of the persecution even if that means facing detention, imprisonment, forced labor, torture, intense brainwashing, or even forced organ harvesting.
On November 20, 2001, 36 Falun Gong practitioners from 15 countries gathered at Tiananmen Square. Sitting in two rows, they unfolded a banner with the words “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” and began meditation. Although they were arrested by the police in less than one minute, this scene and the news told the world how people from various countries cherished Falun Gong.
To help stop this severe human rights abuse, practitioners in the U.S. sued Jiang in 2002. Later on, similar lawsuits were filed in Argentina, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, and other countries. Within a short time, the number of practitioners in Taiwan rose from 3,000 to hundreds of thousands.
Twenty-three years have passed since the persecution started in 1999 and the practice has brought endless benefits to people in over 100 countries.
Warmth in the Cold Arctic Circle
Located within the Arctic Circle, Finland’s capital city of Helsinki is one of the northernmost cities. The freezing cold does not stop Falun Gong practitioners from coming here and raising awareness of the suppression in China.
When practitioner Sinikka was putting up a banner, an elderly man came by and read a Falun Gong pamphlet. “Everyone needs to know about this atrocity in China, especially the forced organ harvesting,” he said.
“It’s very rare to see people coming out like you on such a cold day. What you do must be very important,” he added.
Upon hearing how practitioners were determined in upholding their faith in the harsh persecution, he was moved to tears and offered Sinikka a hot drink.
As they continued talking, the man learned that practitioners did all these not for themselves, but for people so they could reject the vicious CCP. “Yes, we all need to know the truth, but finding it is not easy,” the man explained, “Thank you for bringing it to us.”
Another man agreed. “We have to expose the bad deeds by the CCP. Well done and please keep it up!” A young man and his friends read the posters one by one. “This is horrible!” he exclaimed, “We must stop it immediately!”
A visitor from China accepted the materials and said he has a coworker who is also a Falun Gong practitioner. He agreed to quit the Young Pioneers, a CCP youth organization, that he had joined many years before.
In addition to Helsinki, practitioners in other Finnish and Norwegian cities in the Arctic areas along with Arkhangelsk in Russia often come outdoors, telling people the real story of Falun Gong and the brutality of its persecution in China.