Dusseldorf, Germany: Falun Gong Practitioners Call for Justice During Xi Jinping's Visit
(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners held a rally in front of Dusseldorf City Hall, and a candlelight vigil at Heinrich Heine Square on March 29, 2014, the same day that Xi Jinping, head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), was in town during his visit to Europe. Xi's schedule changed, and his visit to the City Hall was canceled.
Following their protests in Berlin a day prior, practitioners reiterated their demands to bring to justice the key perpetrators in the persecution of Falun Gong.
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WDR Fernsehen Television covered the event. The interviews and footage were broadcast the same night, as part of the special report on Xi's visit to the city. The report lasted about three minutes on a local channel in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, of which Dusseldorf is the capital. Information about the practitioners' rally occupied about one minute.
Many residents and visitors stopped by the rally and signed the petition calling for an end to the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, especially its harvesting of organs from living Falun Gong practitioners.
Peaceful Rally in Front of Dusseldorf City Hall
Falun Gong representatives speak at the rally in front of Dusseldorf City Hall.
People who understand the persecution of Falun Gong line up to sign the petition opposing the persecution.
Reporters from WDR Fernsehen Television at the rally
At the rally in front of Dusseldorf City Hall, Falun Dafa representative Ms. Biergötter talked about the purpose for the gathering, “While the Chinese leader is visiting Dusseldorf, we gather here to raise awareness about the human rights violations in China, especially the regime's persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.”
She introduced Falun Gong and told how former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin had begun the brutal persecution of the practice in 1999. Over 3700 Falun Gong practitioners have been confirmed to have died as a result of the persecution, with many more deaths presumed but unconfirmed.
Mr. Ralf Gronner from Cologne, a member of the International Society for Human Rights and a Falun Gong practitioner, said, “The European Parliament passed a resolution on December 12, 2013, to condemn and call for an end to the forced organ harvesting in China. Falun Gong practitioners are the largest group of victims of this crime.”
The resolution calls on China to “End immediately the practice of harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience and members of religious and ethnic minority groups,” and immediately release “all prisoners of conscience in China, including the Falun Gong practitioners.”
Candlelight Vigil at Heinrich Heine Square
Candlelight vigil at Heinrich Heine Square (top), Exercise demonstration in front of City Hall (bottom)
About 30 practitioners held a candlelight vigil at Heinrich Heine Square from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. They sat in front of a banner that read, “In memory of the Falun Gong Practitioners Who Have Died in the Persecution,” and displayed photos of some of the practitioners. Many passersby stopped to learn the facts and sign the petition calling for an end to the persecution.
One woman with her son and daughter walked by the vigil and stopped to learn about the persecution in China. She was in shock, “I didn’t know that it has been going on for 15 years. It’s wonderful that you are here to let us know the true situation. Thank you.” She signed the petition, as did her son and daughter.
German Police Officer: “I Have Been Listening”
Police officers were on duty in front of City Hall to "keep order" at the rally. At noon, one of them talked to a practitioner and expressed his support. He said, “I have been listening. There isn’t a problem with your activity, and we have no reason to worry. If anyone should try to create problems here, please tell us right away.”
After the candlelight vigil ended, a policewoman said to a practitioner, “We have been through many protests, and yours is very special and different. I want to know what Falun Gong is and what happened. Could you give me some materials? I have been watching you and it seems that anyone can learn these exercises,” she added.
People Sign Petition Opposing the Persecution
On the day of the rally, Xi canceled his visit to City Hall, however people were still able to learn what is happening in China. Those who walked by the practitioners’ booth listened to information about the persecution of Falun Gong. Many lined up waiting to sign the petition opposing the persecution.
A woman from Aachen was curious about the meditation when she saw the demonstration. She said she was a Yoga practitioner, and wondered why the Chinese government would suppress such a healthy exercise like Falun Gong. After she learned the facts, she pointed at her head and said, “There is something wrong with the Chinese leader’s brain.” She signed the petition and inquired about learning the exercises.
Two young German men told the practitioners, “We saw (Xi’s) motorcade and we despise those people. I am against the violation of human rights.” “Everyone has the right to live and to speak up. The persecution of Falun Gong is wrong.” Both signed the petition.
About a dozen German middle school students came by in the afternoon. They all signed the petition after listening to the practitioner explain the true situation. They took a photo with the practitioner holding the picture of Lv Kaili, a practitioner who is currently being tortured in a Chinese prison, and has been disabled.