Tourists visiting Freedom Square in Taipei on Nov. 25, 2017, were astounded by an impressive image and character formation. In fact, this large-scale image formation has been a yearly event in Taiwan since 2000.
More than 6,400 people—wholly clad in either black, yellow, blue, or white clothing—participated in this grand spectacle, which was prepared three days in advance by laying down color-coordinated mats that outlined the image.
As the people lined up to form a 158-by-184-foot (48-by-56-meter) image of a serene woman meditating with her right palm erect, the atmosphere was solemn and magnificent.
Right after the image-forming event, the participants proceeded to practice four standing exercises and a sitting meditation.
Who were all these people, and what were those gentle exercises that they were practicing?
Actually, they were convening at the square to express the wonderfulness of Falun Gong (also called Falun Dafa)—an ancient mind-body cultivation practice based upon the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.
“I hope [the character formation] can inspire our society to become better and be more peaceful, and people can further improve their morality,” Huang Chun-mei, the activity’s organizer and deputy chairman of the Taiwan Falun Dafa Association told Epoch Times.
Each year, practitioners from Taiwan and the Asia-Pacific region gather together to form a different image.
Below are a selection of image-forming activities held over the past years
On Dec. 1, 2007, about 4,000 practitioners formed the Chinese characters for “Falun Dafa is Good” in Chunghsiung New Village, Nantou County, in central Taiwan.
On Nov. 21, 2009, 6,000 practitioners formed a huge 3D model of Falun Gong’s main text, Zhuan Falun.
On Nov. 27, 2010, over 5,000 practitioners formed a giant lotus flower, and the three Chinese characters for “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” which are the main tenets of the practice.
On April 29, 2012, 7,400 Falun Gong practitioners formed the image of Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong.
On Nov. 24, 2013, nearly 7,000 Falun Gong practitioners formed a Buddha meditating above a lotus flower with four characters that read “Falun Dafa,” in a park in front of Tainan City Hall in Taiwan.
On April 26, 2014, 6,000 Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioners formed the Chinese characters for “5.13 World Falun Dafa Day,” and “Thank You, Master.” An image of a practitioner in the full lotus position sits prominently between the characters.
On Nov. 8, 2014, approximately 6,000 practitioners formed the image of a heavenly beauty and the Chinese characters for “The Buddha light illuminates everywhere and harmonizes everything.”
On, Nov. 28, 2015, over 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners formed a large Law Wheel pattern (the emblem of Falun Gong), and the Chinese characters for “The Law Wheel Turns Unceasingly.”
As a matter of fact, Falun Gong’s image-forming activities originated in China prior to 1999.
By 1999, there were an estimated 70 million–100 million Falun Gong practitioners in China, according to a state survey.
Much to the horror of the international community, the Chinese Communist Party initiated a brutal persecution on July 20, 1999, to eradicate Falun Gong—deeming the peaceful practice a threat to its authoritarian rule and atheist ideology based on Marxism.
Since then, Chinese practitioners have been arrested for practicing Falun Gong outside their homes, not to mention organizing any image-forming activities.
But in Taiwan—the country with the second largest amount of Falun Gong practitioners in the world—such an eye-catching activity is a yearly tradition.
Since the introduction of Falun Gong in Taiwan in April 1995, more than 1,000 practice sites have been established in over 300 townships, including the offshore islands of Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu.
The practice’s benefits to one’s physical and mental health have been well received by the Taiwanese government and people from all walks of life.
In contrast, in China, innumerable practitioners have been subjected to torture in forced labor camps, detention centers, prisons, and mental hospitals. As stated in a 2016 report, tens of thousands of practitioners are believed to have been killed for their organs to fuel China’s lucrative transplant industry.
However, despite the ongoing persecution, tens of millions of people are still practicing Falun Gong inside China, according to the website Minghui.org, a clearinghouse for first-hand news about the persecution.
To be able to see Falun Gong flourish in Taiwan, like in the most recent image-forming activity, is truly amazing for the many Chinese tourists who see it—as Chinese state-controlled media purports that “nobody practices Falun Gong outside of China.” Moreover, many tourists from other countries who visited Freedom Square that day marvelled at the incredible spectacle.
Vladimir Baar, 64, a geographer from the Czech Republic, said: “I know about the persecution in the People’s Republic of China. In Taiwan, it is democratic, [with] freedom of religion.”
“I am glad that the event is being held and that people can express themselves and their faith, and what they believe in,” said Sabine Jacob, a clinical research coordinator in hematology-oncology in Los Angeles.
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