Falun Gong spiritual practitioners protest at Chinese Consulate

Rallying in the Rain

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Dozens of Falun Gong practitioners faced the rain this morning to gather outside of the LA Chinese Consulate.

STOP Persecuting Falun Gong

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Umbrellas popped up on both sides of the street outside the Chinese Consulate as protestors held up banners urging the Communist Party to stop their persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.

Falun Dafa Is Good

Corey Bridwell/KPCC

A group of three hold up a simple banner in support of the Falun Gong (also called Falun Dafa) and the group's struggle against governmental persecution.

End Communism Banner

Corey Bridwell/KPCC

Several Falun Gong practitioners hold up a banner calling for the end of Communism.

Ying Nian Wu

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UCLA Statistics professor and Falun Gong group spokesman YIng Nian Wu speaks to the crowd in front of the Chinese Consulate.

Falun Dafa Hao

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A couple holds up a small sign in support of their spiritual discipline outside of the Chinese Consulate in opposition to the upcoming visit from Xi Jinping.

Thanh Le

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Former Los Angeles County manager, Thanh Le, reads her speech to the rain-soaked crowd.

Zhenhua Shi

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Falun Gong practitioner Zhenhua Shi reads from her prepared speech. She escaped a Chinese labor camp after nine years of imprisonment.

The Chinese Consulate

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The view of the Chinese Consulate from across the street during the rally.

Despite a torrent of rain, around 70 people rallied in front of the Chinese Consulate Wednesday afternoon to protest persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual sect by the Chinese government.

Local practitioners of Falun Gong, a set of spiritual teachings currently suppressed in China, gathered to protest the Chinese government's 12-year-long persecution of the sect. The crowd held banners and spoke through megaphones for about two hours Wednesday afternoon — and no one attempted to stop them.

"[Falun Gong] is a spiritual meditation practice," explained Ying Nian Wu, a professor of statistics at UCLA and spokesperson for the local Falun Gong chapter. "The main excuse of the Communist regime for the persecution is that there's so many people, tens of millions of people, practicing Falun Gong. The regime feels threatened."

Protestors claim that more than 3,500 people have been confirmed killed by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) police.

While there is no official ban, practitioners accuse Chinese police of rounding up loads of them through "financial incentives" and forcing them into prison camps and "brainwashing classes."

"If they refuse to denounce their beliefs, they will be tortured to death," said Wu.

The demonstration comes just one day before Xi Jingping, the expected future leader of the Party, is slated to visit L.A. as part of his United States tour.

Yet, according to Wu, while the protestors condemned the regime as a whole, they did not entirely condemn Xi Jingping.

"The Communist regime is a criminal gang. Why should I have any expectations for a criminal gang?" asked Wu. "But, of course, as a person, Xi Jingping, I don't treat him like a gang member. If I treat him as a person then I hope he has a conscience and I hope he follows his conscience to do something that a person, a human being, should do."

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