4/25/2011

The Persecution Before the Persecution

Falun Gong practitioners in China were marked before they gathered on April 25

On April 25, 1999, the most “serious political incident” since 1989 occurred in China. Over 10,000 practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice, had quietly gathered on the streets of Beijing and silently stood and sat from morning to night, seeking to be allowed to practice their faith free from harassment.
Falun Gong Practitioners in Huancui District of Weihai City Perform Exercises at a Plaza in front of Weihai City Hall in the mid 1990's. (Courtesy of Minghui.net)


The incident is often seen as the catalyst to what happened next: a nationwide Cultural Revolution-style persecution featuring incessant propaganda, cruel violence, labor camps, and thought reeducation campaigns that continues to this day. But a look at the three years that preceded that incident shows that rather than being the catalyst to the persecution, it was practitioners’ last-ditch effort to head off what hardliners inside the Communist Party had been hatching since 1996.

Falun Gong is a Chinese spiritual practice with five meditative exercises; it teaches behaving according to the three principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. From its introduction in China in 1992 until its suppression in 1999 it had gained between 70 million and 100 million followers.

The campaign against Falun Gong began in 1996. For the next three years, until the persecution as a mass movement became official, there were attempts to begin stamping out Falun Gong’s influence in China, by spreading negative propaganda, infiltrating practice groups, issuing politically charged labels, and laying the groundwork for further suppression.

During that period, Falun Gong practitioners inside and outside the Party and state were attempting to head it off, until in 1999 when Falun Gong’s delaying tactics ran out, and the Communist Party set out to “eradicate” the practice of Falun Gong.

Propaganda

In July 1996, the authorities began to move against Falun Gong in an article harshly attacking the practice’s book of teachings, Zhuan Falun, which was a nationwide bestseller at the time.

The article appeared in one of the CCP’s standard-bearer publications, the Guangming Daily, and was written by Pan Guoyan, who was then deputy head of the General Administration of Press and Publication, the agency charged with propaganda and censorship in book publishing.

Ye Hao was the head of the Falun Gong Research Society—the institutional face of Falun Gong in China—and also a director in the Public Security Bureau. Now in his 70s and at that time already an “old comrade” who first approached qigong through the lens of dialectical materialism, Ye knew the internal conversation going on in the Party about qigong and Falun Gong. He said it was Xu Guangchun, then vice minister of the Central Propaganda Department, who organized newspapers to attack Falun Gong.
STILL: Ye Hao, a coordinator in the Falun Gong community in China before the persecution and official in the public security apparatus. He meditates in New York in 2009. (Courtesy of Minghui.net)

A rash of propaganda in over 20 major newspapers followed the Guangming Daily piece, and the Central Propaganda Department then dropped the guillotine on the publishing license for Zhuan Falun.

The book banning was the first of many measures the authorities would take over the next few years to attempt to curb the growth of Falun Gong and undo its influence on Chinese society. The book was still printed, however, even in official presses, because people in the system thought Falun Gong was good.

Another attempt, according to Ye, was made by the United Front Work Department when it called a large meeting in 1996 specifically to tell the “eight minor parties,” Communist Party political fronts, that Falun Gong was a “heretical religion” and would be outlawed. But that also did not lead to a nationwide suppression.

Slanderous press kept coming, however.

Mr. Qing Yang, a Falun Gong contact person in China at the time, who now lives in the United States, said that when launching political movements, “The first thing the Party does is propaganda. The second thing is to make up an investigation and fabricate evidence.”

Investigations

Ms. Wang, 65, a practitioner in China at the time, felt it was strange when a young man turned up to learn the exercises one day, and then began asking lots of questions. “What’s your name? Where do you live? What’s your work unit?” he would ask.

“Normally people who practice Falun Gong would just read the book and practice, they wouldn’t ask detailed questions like that,” she said.

Two national investigations had been ordered by the Ministry of Public Security, in January and July 1997, to collect evidence that Falun Gong was engaged in “illegal religious activities.” The outcome reported from infiltrators was, “no problems yet found.”
Over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioner gather for a group practice in Shengyang City, May 1998. (Courtesy of Minghui.net)

Police easily infiltrated practice groups owing to Falun Gong’s principle of being open to everyone.

A year later, on July 21, 1998, the ministry launched another investigation, this time directly declaring Falun Gong a “heretical religion” (xiejiao) in an internal memo. Police stations were ordered to collect intelligence on practitioners for proof of wrongdoing.

This label would later be revived, translated into English as “evil cult,” and made the mainstay of anti-Falun Gong propaganda for four months after the persecution officially began in July of 1999.

Western scholars in their research, and Ye Hao in the interview, indicated that the successive investigations by the Public Security Bureau, followed by the final order to simply label Falun Gong a heretical religion, indicated an internal struggle in the department between ideological opponents and supporters.

Wang Bin, a Falun Gong volunteer coordinator in Haidian District, Beijing, at the time, said that things heated up after the “heretical religion” label. “They beat people, issued fines, [and] searched houses.” He said that more extreme incidents took place in more remote areas.

Wang Bin highlighted the complexity of the events. People within the Party apparatus were seeking to make moves against Falun Gong, while protectors and practitioners tried to head them off. “There were a lot of people practicing Falun Gong at high levels in the government at that time,” he said in a telephone interview, before rattling off a list of names. “A lot of people thought Falun Gong shouldn’t be monitored.”  

Counter-Investigations
 
After the two PSB investigations, the Sports Commission also launched its own investigation. This was an institution, which though part of the government, had a history of relatively amicable relations with Falun Gong.

The team—led by a professor who practiced Falun Gong—studied the effects of the practice on more than 12,000 people in Guangdong Province. It reported that 97.9 percent of respondents said their health had improved, and that huge savings in health care could be gained.
ACROSS CHINA: A practice site in the Northeast of China in the mid 1990's. (Courtesy of Minghui.net) (Courtesy of Minghui.net)

Another investigation was led by Qiao Shi, former chairman of the National People’s Congress and a high-profile cadre with a long career in the public security apparatus. He repeatedly came to the defense of Falun Gong, and in an investigation concluded in the latter half of 1998 reported to the Communist Party’s Central Committee’s Political and Legislative Affairs Bureau, “Falun Gong brings countless benefits to the nation and its people, and not a trace of harm.”

Xu Yin was a professor of civil engineering at Tsinghua University at the time and a volunteer organizer in that university’s Falun Gong club. He organized high-profile letter-writing campaigns with hundreds of prominent intellectuals who practiced.

The spread and composition of practitioners was troubling to communist authorities. As well as attracting peasants and the elderly, Falun Gong had gained practitioners in the army, the police, the intelligence services, and throughout the Communist Party.

Over a fifth of the practitioners were college graduates, a significantly higher proportion than the average population in China.

Resistance

Ai Weiwei, the recently detained artist-cum-dissident (who is not a Falun Gong practitioner) has said, “If you don’t act, the dangers become stronger.”

Falun Gong practitioners in China said in interviews that their choice to stand firm against intensifying pressure was the only thing that stopped the persecution from descending earlier.

From June 1996 to April 1999, practitioners were proactive in responding to negative media and staged peaceful demonstrations against articles they perceived as slanderous.
A group practice site at Beijing Jietai Temple in 1996. (Courtesy of Minghui.net)

The demonstrations were considered brazen in China, where independent groups are not expected to assert their civic rights or publicly seek to gain positive representation.

Practitioners approached media outlets with their personal stories of how Falun Gong had helped or transformed them, they said in interviews, and the journalists and editors were then often understanding and receptive.

Practitioners said in interviews that they were also bargaining for the future of their faith in China.

Ye Hao explained the thinking behind the appeals: “When they are treated unfairly, they go and speak out: ‘Falun Dafa is good. I personally benefited. Originally my sickness was bad and Falun Dafa gave me a second life.’ They don’t say anything else, they just speak from their own experience.”

They hoped that simple testimonials of this kind would convince the Communist Party not to “make a wrong decision.”

Ye Hao says the Party was determined. “If they want to persecute you, they will absolutely do so. All we could do was try to alleviate it.”

Xu Yin, the Tsinghua professor, reflected on the beginnings of the propaganda campaign and what followed. “They had already fixed on us, they had targeted us,” he said. “We tried to be careful [in confronting the Party]. If we had done nothing, it would have been worse.”


Mmm… Chocolate World Cup on Display in India





And if "cricket diplomacy" doesn't mend relations between India and Pakistan today, well, there's always chocolate.

Take a look at this. It's a chocolate replica of the Cricket World Cup trophy. It's on display at this shopping mall in India's Hyderabad city for today's semi-final against Pakistan.

[Kartic, Shop Manager]:
"We have created this as an inspiration that we should win this World Cup."

Customers seem love it.

[Partima, Shop Customer]:
"I hope the Indian team gives us news of victory as sweet as the chocolate trophy here. So 'good luck India!' Go bring the world cup home this time."

The cup is around 18 inches high and weighs about nine pounds. The manager says it took twenty days to make.

New Beauty Retouch Camera Takes Perfect Pictures





Japanese electronics manufacturer Panasonic has released a camera that can brush up, clean up and even put makeup on a person’s face.

The camera does everything from whitening your teeth, make your skin glow, to applying powder and removing dark eye circles. For the final touch, it will apply rouge, lipstick and eye shadow.

Panasonic says there has been huge customer demand for a camera like this.

[Akiko Enoki, Panasonic Project Planning Manager]:
"We've focused on the fact that according to some data we've acquired, around 50% of our digital camera clients are not satisfied with the way their faces look in a photograph. So we came up with the idea for the product so that our clients can fix parts that they didn't like about their faces after they have taken their picture."

The camera has already proved to be a hit with Tokyo retailer Bic Camera, who was allowed to sell it a week ahead of the official launch date.

[Hiromi Honma, Sales Representative, Bic Camera]:
"The camera is very popular among people that use pictures in their blogs, or people that are taking just one commemorative photo that they need to be flawless."

Profile picture experts say they are looking forward to this new camera, but add that there are certain tricks of the trade that technology cannot replace.

[Yunkoro, Blogger]:
"If your cheeks look too wide in a photograph, you can place your hands on your cheeks like this so it hides them, and it will have the effect of making your face look much smaller."

Taiwanese Man Sings Peking Opera in English





On any ordinary day in Taichung County in Taiwan, 80-year-old Lu Fei can be found sitting on the small balcony outside his house, perfecting his talents as a Peking Opera performer.

But don't be fooled by the traditional Chinese instruments like the erhu, gong and cymbal. Listen closely and you'll realize Lu's version is entirely in English.

Lu said he taught himself a little bit of English after ending his military service in 1959 and later took English classes at a local church.

[Lu Fei, Peking Opera Performer]:
"Maybe I have some spirit in my heart. I participated at the church's English class, and when the class was over, I mean the term was over, somebody had to show their ability of singing or play stuff like that, and they asked me to show. So I said OK, I am kind of a Chinese opera performer."

Lu said by translating the operas into English, perhaps foreigners will find the ancient art more appealing.

As for his musical stylings, Lu is completely self-taught. He has been playing the erhu for more than 30 years now. And although Peking Opera is usually performed by an orchestra of musicians, Lu takes plays all the instruments himself.

Regardless of what passers-by might think of his performance, Lu says he does it for his own satisfaction.

[Lu Fei, Peking Opera Performer]:
"They act funny. Some people they stay a while to listen, and some just pass by. As long as I can play, an old man plays, it doesn't matter, I have my own joy."

Lu sometimes travels to Taipei to perform in front of the tourist-filled Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall.

But some say Peking Opera is not meant to be translated, especially into English.

[Leah Kao, Amateur Peking Opera Singer]:
"I think the lyrics to Peking Opera cannot be translated completely to English, the essence of it is difficult to translate, but his singing is very good. I think it is difficult for foreigners to learn Peking Opera, we have a lot of pronunciation that will be hard for foreigners."

For now, Lu is content to play and sing, combining the two things he loves, Peking Opera and the English language.

New Zealand Air Force Releases UFO Files





The New Zealand Air Force has released thousands of files on UFO sightings from the past decades.

One reported sighting was in Kaikoura coast in 1978, filmed by a camera crew.

[Lloyd Mcfadden, Former TVNZ Cameraman]:
"It sort of hovered along the tree line but then darted sharply up and to the left."

At that time, New Zealand authorities concluded that the sighting could be an unusually bright vision of Venus, or the transmission of radio and light waves.

After much lobbying by UFO researchers, the government finally released the files, under freedom of information laws.

[Suzanne Hansen, UFO Believer]:
"There is something going on that the public needs to look into a bit more deeply and we need to try and understand."

[Unidentified man]:
"Well I've not seen no aliens around lately."

[Unidentified man]:
"I'm a believer that there's life out there."

[Unidentified woman]:
"There's no such thing as UFOs."

The files cover reported sightings of flying saucers and other alleged alien encounters in the last 55 years.

Flowers Delight Visitors at Taipei International Flora Expo


The Taipei International Flora Expo kicked off on Saturday.

Eager visitors from all over the country waited in line beginning in the early morning for the Expo to open its doors.

Many visitors came to see the various landscaping concepts from different countries, while others hoped to find ideas for their own gardens.

[Huang Cheng-yung, Expo Visitor]:
"I want to look at the plants and the landscaping, for research, and also take some photos for research."

[Chen Mei-jung, Expo Visitor]:
"This is a rare opportunity. I have visited the Flora Expo in Japan and Kunming before, so I am very curious how this Expo compares."

Taipei is the 7th Asian city to host the event, which features floral exhibits from more than 30 countries.

More than 12,000 visitors entered the expo within 3 hours of its opening.

It cost more than US $395-million and its 14 exhibition halls and fields of flowers and plants spread over 227 acres, showcasing more than 30 million flowers and the latest green technology.

The Taipei City government is expecting eight million visitors until the Expo wraps up at the end of April.




Sixth Annual Flower Exhibition Delights Visitors in Kyiv





Here, at this annual flower business convention in Kyiv, you can find the most outlandish flowers.



One of the top sellers is the orchid - found in many different colors.



This special novelty orchid blooms to 13 inches, despite its thin stalk.



[Marko Hendriks, Exhibitor]:

"We also have seen it on Turkish president’s table and in more special places. We also have delivered it to the wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco."



But causing perhaps more amazement is the popular blue orchid.



Blue orchids are grown in limited quantities and the technology used remains a top secret.



[Jon Smits, Exhibitor]:

"The process of coloring the flowers is not a very easy process. You cannot have 100% of your production which comes out in a nice colored way."



And these long-life flowers are colored in a different way, using food dyes.



According to French technology these roses are first dehydrated and then filled with a mixture of glycerin and pigment to color the petals.



The cut flowers can last for up to five years.



[Anna Kashina, Exhibitor]:

"You can touch every flower and leaf, they feel alive and real. They can make beautiful bouquets and interior decorations.”



There are also roses to suit all tastes.



The flower importers say the roses with large buds - grown mostly in South Africa - are particularly popular.



However, the queen of flowers can also be found in the country of tulips - Holland.



[Jan Verheij, Exhibitor]:

"This variety is also new from Ecuador, but also grown and bred in Holland. So you can see the double leaves and that’s a specialty. Was never grown before in Holland."



Large numbers of chrysanthemums, tulips and daffodils are exhibited.



[Visitor]:

"Extraordinarily beautiful flowers, very beautiful composition. All done with a great, great taste.”



[Visitor]:

"Every year I wait for this exhibition in the spring, it inspires me very much because flowers are a joy of life."



This is the 6th exhibition for flower businesses, nurseries, landscape design and florists in Kyiv.



160 companies from 15 countries are presenting their products this year.



NTD News, Kyiv, Ukraine

Tennis Stars Play in Soccer Benefit Match for Japan





Top-seeded players Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray are among the tennis stars playing in a charity soccer match Wednesday night. They played against a local team to benefit the Japanese relief effort.

Event organizer Arron Davidson described the match as "phenomenal."

[Arron Davidson, Event Organizer]:
"With a protagonist like Djokovic leading the charge, it was unquestionable that this number of tennis players would come out, but still, you don't believe it till you see it."

The players are in the Miami area to play at the ATP Sony Ericsson Open.

They took a short break to play the match at a local high school against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers who play in the North American Soccer League.

Australian Open champion Djokovic says he’s happy to see the turnout of players and fans, and expressed his support for the people of quake-stricken Japan.

[Novak Djokovic, Tennis Player]:
"We all feel sorry for the people there and for everything that is going on, so, to show our contribution in some ways is great."

Earnings from the match will go to help the Red Cross in their effort to help victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan.

Roll up! The Circus Is In Washington, DC





Now there's something you don't see every day.



A parade of elephants took to the streets in Washington to celebrate the arrival of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.



It was an unusual sight for the city, where presidential motorcades are commonplace, and the only wild animals you're likely to see are squirrels and pigeons.



[Adrienne Goldstein, Onlooker]:

"We were just sitting there and we saw these elephants walking down the street so it was surprising and they were, you don't get to see this every day so it was fun to see."



The six elephants marched their way to the U.S. Capitol, before taking a walk downtown.



[Monica Billger, Onlooker]:

"I just love the elephants, when they stood up it was fantastic to see them and the kids loved it. It was just great to see their faces smiling."



Of course, the Greatest Show on Earth wouldn't be complete without a cleaning truck following closely behind.

China's Foreign Exchange Reserves Conundrum

The Chinese regime is facing a huge challenge with respect to its large foreign exchange reserves.

Authorities don't want to increase the foreign reserves; their aim is to keep the economic growth going, a Chinese economist says. Economic growth means more jobs and helps the regime maintain its hold on power. That’s also why they keep the yuan undervalued. But now inflation is becoming a threat that could undermine this plan.

China’s exchange reserves have risen beyond a reasonable level, and the rapid increase in reserves may have led to excessive liquidity and created “significant monetary sterilization pressure,” Central Bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said on April 18 after a speech at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Monetary sterilization refers to actions in which a central bank or federal reserve attempts to insulate itself from the foreign exchange market to counteract the effects of a changing monetary base. The sterilization process is used to manipulate the value of one domestic currency relative to another, and is initiated in the forex market, according to investopedia.com.
A staff member counts money at a branch of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC) on April 18 in Huaibei, Anhui Province of China. The People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, raised the required reserve ratio of the country's lenders by 50 basis points from April 21 for the fourth time this year to curb stubbornly high inflation. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)


China’s foreign exchange reserves have increased by US $197 billion to US $3 trillion during this year’s first quarter, becoming the largest foreign currency reserve in the world.

Meanwhile, inflation in the country has been worsening. China’s consumer price index in March has increased by 5.4 percent over the same period last year.

Economist Dr Jian, who once worked at China’s Central Bank, talked with The Epoch Times about the causes and consequences of China’s ever-increasing foreign reserves. He said the ballooning exchange reserves and inflation are related, and this has been caused by Chinese authorities’ wrong economic policy.

The main purpose for accumulating foreign exchange reserves is to minimize the impact imbalanced international payments from world trade and the financial crisis could have on domestic currency. “Having some reserves is necessary for any country, but US $3 trillion is too much,” Dr Jian said.

A large amount of the foreign exchange reserves were used to purchase overseas bonds, especially U.S. Treasury bonds. China holds at least US $2 trillion in U.S. treasury bonds, Fed chief Ben Bernanke said in February.

But since last year, many countries have relaxed their monetary policy to stimulate the economy, and major currencies around the world have depreciated at a faster rate, with 11 percent for the yen and 6 percent for the pound.

This resulted in China's foreign reserves to become depreciated.

“A 5 percent depreciation, for example, would devalue China's reserves by US $500 billion. The real numbers should be even higher than this,” Dr Jian said. “Other countries actually benefited from this,” he added.

Dr. Jian said the huge amount of foreign reserves hasn't brought any benefits to the Chinese people, only inflation.

The increasing proportion of reserves to GDP has resulted in a continued growth of money supply. “The growth of inflation in recent months is related to the increasing reserves. There are other factors, but of little impact,” Dr Jian said.

Dr Jian said there are a number of ways to reduce the trade surplus. You can appreciate the yuan, or you can increase the price of export goods by either raising worker’s wages or through inflation.

Another way to solve the problem of excessive reserves is to substantially increase imports. But the fundamental solution is to improve the exchange rate, according to Dr Jian.

“The authorities use domestic inflation to reduce the reserves. They try to solve the problem at the expense of the majority of Chinese people,” Dr Jian said.

Preventing Unemployment and Uprising

Dr Jian said he believes the Chinese authorities didn't want to increase the reserves. Their aim is to keep the economic growth going. Economic growth means more jobs and helps the communist regime to maintain its power, he said.

China's economic growth during the past 20 to 30 years can be mainly attributed to the undervalued yuan and the growth of fixed asset investments. The undervalued yuan has led to the annual export growth of 30 percent.

“If the unemployment rate gets too high, it will cause social unrest, and the communist regime won't be able to maintain the stability of its control. This is why the authorities didn't take action to reduce the excessive reserves,” Dr Jian said.

The authorities are still reluctant to improve the exchange rate even though inflation has been rising every month. They are afraid of the implications of slowing economic growth. They try to tighten the monetary policy to suppress inflation by increasing the interest rate and reserve ratio for banks, Dr Jian said.

Will Hutton, an author and governor at the London School of Economics, says China is a "tinderbox" and “revolt in China is only a matter of time,” The Sydney Morning Herald said in an article on April 19.

The article quotes Mr Hutton saying while it was not clear when China could be hit by a people's revolt, it already had a fragile financial system that could lead to further social unrest.

“There's an iron rule in economics—you know, what's unsustainable can't be sustained,” Mr Hutton said about China's increase of its foreign exchange reserves to $US3 trillion.

“The Chinese cannot carry on acquiring foreign exchange reserves like this. It's a massive distortion. This is all about to blow,” he said.

The Chinese financial system is many times more fragile than the American and British and Western banking system was in the run-up to the financial crash in 2008. I mean, it lent many times more than GDP now. On many of these loans, there's no interest paid or principal ever repaid. I mean, this is an accident waiting to happen,” the Sydney Morning Herald article quoted Mr Hutton telling Australia’s ABC.

chinareports@epochtimes.com

Read the original Chinese article.

American Batik Design Competition Launched





The Indonesian Ambassador for the U.S. launched the American Batik Design Competition last Wednesday in New York.



[Dr. Dino Patti Djalal, Indonesian Ambassador for United States]:

“In the beginning, we were looking for a creative way to promote batik. One way that we chose was to make Americans feel like they also own batik.”



The theme of this competition is “The Spirit of America in the Heritage of Batik.”



[Dr. Dino Patti Djalal, Indonesian Ambassador for United States]:

“And to feel like you own batik, they need to design their own batik with their own interpretation. It is known that batik originated and belonged to Indonesia, but the expression can be from different countries, like African batik, Russian batik, etc.”



Famous Indonesian fashion designer Oscar Lawalata was invited to help launch this project.



[Oscar Lawalata, Batik Fashion Designer]:

“If countries like the United States can participate in loving batik, and they can also imagine how to make batik, it is very good for the development of batik itself.”



Tonight Oscar presents 24 of his batik collections inspired from Central Java’s batiks, and other places.



[Judith Edstrom, Batik Lover]:

“I love batik because what it tells about the history of different parts of Indonesia, from the original ones from Solo and Jogjakarta, and to those that have Chinese influence on the North coast. Where they have the red and so on. The batik from Madura are my favorites.”



[Dr. Dino Patti Djalal, Indonesian Ambassador for United States]:

“I hope this will make fashion designers in United States participate, and this can be a pilot project that can be done in other countries as well.”



The competition is open to all American citizens over the age of 16. The deadline for submissions is August 1.



[Judith Edstrom, Batik Lover]:

“I think what the design competition can do is bring to the United States, bring to American society, the richness of your culture.”



The top three designers will win a trip to Indonesia, where they can learn firsthand how to make batik in seven different Indonesian locations. The finalists’ works will be exhibited in shows in both Indonesia and the United States.



[Dr. Dino Patti Djalal, Indonesian Ambassador for United States]:

“We will consider it a success if any American designer participates in this competition, like fashion designers, graphic designers or fabric designers. We will continue to launch this competition in San Francisco, LA, Chicago, St Louis, Atlanta, and other cities.”



NTD News, Manhattan, New York

"Da Vinci" Robot Assists Surgeons





Meet Da Vinci, the surgical robot which makes operations minimally invasive and allows the surgeon extreme precision in confined spaces.



Dr. James Porter, director of surgical robotics at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle says Da Vinci offers patients less post-operative pain, shorter hospital stays, less blood loss and faster recovery time ... but that's not all.



It can also make paper planes.



The original Da Vinci was well known for his experimental flying machines.



His robotic namesake may be adept at folding them ... but flying them?



Leonardo may have been disappointed.

Personal Letters from Legendary Hollywood Stars up for Sale





Letters and contracts from Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn are among the biggest celebrity items currently held by a Hollywood auction house. The collection features rare manuscripts, personal letters, contracts and photographs signed by the most distinguished celebrities in Hollywood, and will go up for auction in mid-April.

According to Catherine Williamson, director of fine books and manuscripts at Bonhams and Butterfields, the collection features more than 600 documents that offer a rare glimpse into the personal lives of many admired celebrities.

[Catherine Williamson, Director at Bonhams And Butterfields]:
"It gives such a comprehensive picture of individuals from the movie industry. It gives such a comprehensive picture of what every major person who worked in this business is like, because that's what letters do. They give you insight into the mind, the thoughts and the mind of the actor, the writer, the director. Not just what you see on the screen or in the interview, but what they're thinking of and what they're writing down."

Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe items are expected to bring in the highest bids. Among these items are letters written and signed before the women had their big break.

[Catherine Williamson, Director at Bonhams and Butterfields]:
"We have a nice collection of Elizabeth Taylor material. It includes some early documents, contracts that she signed before she was 18 years old, so her mother has to sign those documents with her. We have some correspondence with some of her directors and producers in which she's discussing her family or describing upcoming projects. And then, we have some examples of photographs that she signed from very early examples of her as a teenager through to her adult years."

The auction collection also features a variety of film contracts, signed by celebrities such as Greta Garbo, and correspondence between the stars and their directors.

The auction house in Los Angeles will be open to the public for preview beginning on April 15th, with the sale taking place on April 20th. Although the auction is taking place in California, collectors may also place bids from the New York gallery.

2011 New York Automobile Show Kicks Off






The New York Auto Show kicks off for the general public in New York today, and runs right through till Sunday, May 1. Displaying a wide range of vehicles, aimed at different kinds of consumers.


The 2011 Jaguar XJ, dubbed the International Luxury Car of the Year by a group of US-based automotive journalists, is priced from $72,700. The basic XJ starts with a direct-injection 385-horse power, 5.0-liter V-8. But for the XJ Supercharged which attains 470 horse power, you can expect to pay an extra $15,000.



Jaguar is also debuting its 2012 XFR Sedan, 2012 XKR Coupe and 2012 XK convertible.



Around 1 million auto enthusiasts are expected to come here to the Javits Center through to May 1. And with around 1000 vehicles on display it’s no wonder.



For a cool $170,000, the 2012 Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition. This hand-finished edition was designed and engineered in Britain. This Range Rover sports a new eight-speed transmission, and can go 0-60mph in just 5.9 seconds. The interior is lined with soft natural leathers. This vehicle made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, and with only 500 to be commissioned globally, less than 50 people in the US will be able to buy one of these.



The 2012 Volkswagon Beetle is also making its global debut, considered a sportier model than its predecessors. Sporting a dual exhaust, 19-inch wheels and comfortable sport seats. This beetle also has a Fender audio system and navigation. It is scheduled to go on sale this fall, possibly priced around $20K.



Toyota is displaying a new “family” of Prius hybrids - plug-in versions of the familiar Prius. And also an all-electric version of the RAV4 compact SUV.



Also tapping in to the electric market, the all-electric Mistubishi i. Priced somewhere under $30,000. This one is set to launch in the US and Canada later this year.



NTD News, New York

4/19/2011

Italy: Falun Dafa Practitioners Invited to Present the Practice at a Holiday Resort (Photos)



(Clearwisdom.net) Falun Dafa practitioners were invited to demonstrate the exercises and to show the art exhibition, The Art of Truth-Compassion-Tolerance, in the locality of Calambrone in the province of Pisa at the Regina del Mare holiday resort on April 9 and 10, during a weekend dedicated to voluntary associations.
Practitioners showed the five exercises to the visitors and gave out materials in the main park of the resort. Some people wanted to learn the exercises and asked about the closest practice site.

Practitioners demonstrate the exercises
Two visitors learn the exercises

Little Rebecca does the sitting meditation
The exhibition room of the resort hotel was given to practitioners to display the paintings. This was the first opportunity many people had had to hear about Falun Dafa and the ongoing human rights violations that Falun Dafa practitioners have been suffering in China since 1999.



People view the paintings
Because of the art exhibition, many people were able to learn about the beauty of the practice. Some asked practitioners questions because they wanted to have a deeper understanding of what is going on in China. The exhibition showed how following the principles of Falun Dafa, Truth-Compassion-Forbearance, can allow people to peacefully resist a brutal persecution like the one happening in China under the rule of the Communist regime.
Posting date: 4/19/2011
Category: Community Events

Dafa Saved Them from the Brink of Death


(Clearwisdom.net)
A Patient with Lymphoma Regained His Health
I am a practitioner from Chongqing. My parents-in-law are Falun Gong practitioners, but I previously had no interest in qigong or cultivation practice, and never believed in anything paranormal.
Several years ago, prior to becoming a practitioner, I suffered from lymphoma, a form of cancer of the lymph nodes. During my hospitalization, I underwent more than 30 radiation treatments. The pain was agonizing.
While I was in the hospital, my in-laws never gave up hope for me and clarified the facts about Falun Gong to me with great patience. They told me how wonderful Falun Gong is and asked me to read the Falun Gong books. I was gradually persuaded and began reading the Falun Gong books and say, “Falun Dafa is good and Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.” As a result, I was able to endure all the pain, and I began recovering little by little.
There are no longer any signs that I was ever a cancer patient. When people see me they say, “There is no evidence that you were a cancer patient,” and, “You look even more energetic than us.” I am so fortunate. I am very grateful to Teacher for saving me and helping me become a healthy person with his great compassion. I have found the true meaning of my life from practicing Falun Gong. I am very grateful to my in-laws for clarifying the truth about Falun Gong to me and guiding me to this practice. From the bottom of my heart I cry out, “Falun Dafa is good! Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good!”
Liver Cancer Patient Recovers after Practicing Falun Gong
Qingsong, 47, was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. To keep him from panicking, his relatives didn't tell him about his condition and asked him to go to the provincial hospital for a further examination. When I saw him, he was pale and needed help just to walk. In recent days, he stopped eating anything, and his stools were black. His parents and his grandmother died of liver cancer. In particular, his father died of liver cancer at age 37. All of his relatives were very worried about him.
After the examination we asked three experts for their opinions. All of them offered the same conclusion, that he was suffering from terminal cancer. I then told him about his condition indirectly. He knew that more than ten members of my family are Falun Gong practitioners. In the past few years, he has read many truth clarification materials about Falun Gong. He even had a copy of Zhuan Falun at his home, but he never read it seriously. I told him some stories about the miraculous healing effects of Falun Gong, and he became convinced that only Falun Gong could save him. When we had lunch he told me, “I will practice Falun Gong from now on. I will walk this path to whatever end.”
Just like what Teacher taught,
“We’d say that a good or bad outcome comes from one thought. The difference in one thought leads to different results.” (Zhuan Falun)
Qingsong genuinely treated himself as a cultivator. He said, “This is not a disease. It is karma, and Teacher is eliminating the karma for me.” When we had lunch he ate the same food as us without any precautions. After lunch he said joyously, “For more than ten days I have not had any dinner as nice as this.” In the afternoon, we talked about Falun Gong for a little while. That night, the color of his stool was normal.
When I saw him the next day, his pale face had already regained its color, and he looked quite energetic. We then studied the Fa and shared our experiences about Falun Gong. After that, I taught him the Falun Gong exercises. I later bought him an MP3 player so he could listen to Teacher's audio Fa lectures. He was very happy to be a Falun Dafa cultivator every day. Seven days after he came to my city he said, “Dafa is really powerful. I really never imagined that I could recover so fast.”
Several days later, he left the hospital and went home with many truth clarification materials and some Dafa books. He said that he would bring the facts about Falun Gong to his relatives and friends and let them know that “Falun Dafa is good” with his own experience as proof.
Posting date: 4/14/2011
Category: Good Is Rewarded
Chinese version available at http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2011/4/2/幸遇大法-绝处逢生-238411.html

Students from Boston University Support Falun Gong (Photos)


(Clearwisdom.net) On April 14, local Falun Gong practitioners from Boston held a photo exhibition on the campus of Boston University (BU), exposing the brutal persecution of Falun Gong in China. Students from the Amnesty International BU chapter came to the exhibition, sitting with practitioners and expressing their support.
Ariana Katz, a sociology and Hebrew student, is a member of Amnesty International at BU. She helped practitioners pass out flyers and talk to people. She told people how her roommate, Shirley, had changed for the better from practicing Falun Gong. She also told people that since studying the facts of Falun Gong and talking to practitioners, she has gained a more positive understanding of Falun Gong, and consequently, she supports Falun Gong more.
Ariana (in blue) talks to students about Falun Gong
Students view the display boards
Two days before the event, the organizer announced it on her facebook account. One Chinese student left very negative comments. Ariana replied to this student. She said that Falun Gong has spread quickly in the world; some people who follow the Communist party may misunderstand due to the negative propaganda, but what she sees, through her roommate and other Falun Gong practitioners, is compassion and benevolence.
A student takes a flyer after talking to a practitioner
Ariana said to the Chinese student that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has tried all means to slander Falun Gong with all kinds of propaganda. She said whether one practices Falun Gong or not, he or she should stand up against the genocide and persecution, because that is basic humanity.
She also told the Chinese student that the CCP not only kills Falun Gong practitioners in a systematic way, but also persecutes other human rights or religious groups in China. She asked the Chinese student not to be polluted by the CCP's lies. She said that she should open her heart and come to the Falun Gong activity, and learn about the truth of Falun Gong objectively.
Encouraged by Ariana, that Chinese student came to the event and talked to Shirley for three hours about Falun Gong. She learned the truth and changed her opinion. She told Shirley that she was happy to talk to her; she didn't mean to offend Shirley a few days before; and she appreciated that Shirley shared her thoughts so that she had a chance to see Falun Gong from a different angle.
Posting date: 4/19/2011
Category: Community Events
Chinese version available at http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2011/4/18/波士顿大学生伸张正义(图)-239203.html

4/18/2011

Vancouver: City Government Proposes the Redraft of “Public Expression” Bylaw (Photos)


(Clearwisdom.net) On April 14, the City of Vancouver proposed a new draft of the “Public Expression” bylaw, which would allow Falun Gong protesters to build structures outside the Chinese consulate. Falun Gong practitioners have been fighting for their right to protest and have gained support from all walks of life in Vancouver. 

Protesting in front of the Chinese consulate on April 9
The press conference on April 13



The press conference on April 13
Jing Tian, a Falun Gong practitioner, spoke at the press conference on April 13
The history of the protest site and the lawsuit
 
The practitioners in Vancouver started their peaceful protest around the clock in front of the Chinese consulate on August 20, 2001.


The protest was granted verbal permission by the city until 2006. In 2003, as required by the city, the practitioners had a discussion on reducing the size of the display panels. In November 2003, in response to a citizen's email, the government clearly stated that, "Falun Gong practitioners' protest is legitimate, we won't take any actions."


On August 11, 2006, former mayor Sam Sullivan applied to the B.C. Supreme Court, based on the city's traffic regulations, to demand that the court issue an injunction ordering the practitioners to remove their protest boards and the small blue hut on Granville Street, which had been there for more than five years.


The practitioners appealed the court's decision. On October 19, 2010, the British Columbia Court of Appeal struck down the city bylaw that prohibited Falun Gong practitioners from placing their protest billboards and hut in front of the Chinese consulate in Vancouver, and ruled it to be unconstitutional and in violation of the practitioners' right of free speech granted by the Canadian Constitution. The Court of Appeal asked the City of Vancouver to revise the bylaw in six months. The deadline is April 19, 2011.


The first revision was questioned

 
On April 7, the city government proposed a new bylaw that prevented structures in front of the Chinese consulate. According to local media reports, the city government consulted with the Chinese consulate before the new bylaw was proposed.


Councillor David Cadman was astonished. “Is there any other bylaw that you can think of that we brought in that we would have consulted with a foreign government—a government that imprisons a Nobel laureate, that imprisons an artist that exhibits at the Tate? Why would we consult with them about our bylaw?” he asked.


Clive Ansley, a lawyer representing Falun Gong, said the fact that city engineers consulted the Chinese consulate is “disgraceful” and “indefensible.” He also said that after reviewing the proposed bylaw restrictions it was clear that the consulate “pretty much got their entire wish-list.”


“We didn’t fight this battle over five years, and the Court of Appeal didn’t make this decision striking down the bylaw, in order for the city to enact a new bylaw that results in the identical prohibition of free expression,” he said at the council meeting. “Passage of the present form of this by-law will guarantee another lawsuit on behalf of my client,” he added.


Falun Gong practitioners held a press conference on April 13

 
On April 13, Falun Gong practitioners held a press conference in front of City Hall. Several practitioners spoke. They said that the protests in front of the Chinese consulate have encouraged them. Practitioners also re-enacted the torture methods that the Chinese government uses on practitioners in China. Liu Qikun, the representative from Allies of the Guard of Canadian Values; Tenzin Lhalungpa, the chair of the Canadian Tibetan Association; Simma Holt, a former Canadian Member of Parliament; and Sadie Kuehn, the chair of Friends of Falun Gong, came to the press conference. A dozen local media covered the story.


Ms. Sue Zhang, spokeswoman for Falun Gong, pointed out that the Court of Appeal has already struck down the city bylaw that prohibited Falun Gong practitioners from placing their protest billboards and hut in front of the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver, ruling it to be unconstitutional and in violation of practitioners' right of free speech granted by the Canadian Constitution.


Ms. Zhang briefly reviewed the facts and history of the brutal persecution of Falun Gong in China. She mentioned that 35 Vancouver citizens had been persecuted in China for practicing Falun Gong. Some citizens' family members are being jailed in China. She said the city government should not suppress the protesters' rights.


Two Falun Gong practitioners, Jing Tian and Tang Feng, spoke at the conference. Jing Tian was sentenced to 13 years and was badly tortured in jail. She was released early because she became very weak and was dying. Tang Feng was arrested more than 10 times and tortured in detention centers. Twenty of Tang Feng's friends were tortured to death because they practiced Falun Gong. In their speeches, they said that the protests in front of the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver have given them encouragement and hope.


Liu Qikun, the representative from Allies of the Guard of Canadian Values, said that it is intolerable that the city government would consult with a foreign consulate when revising the bylaws, especially when it is a tyrannical power that has killed millions of its own people. He asked, “In America, people can protest against the president in front of the White House. Why can't we protest against the tyrant power in front of its consulate in Vancouver?”


Sadie Kuehn, the chair of Friends of Falun Gong, expressed her support. She said Falun Gong practitioners save lives, and other organizations have learned a lot from them. She expressed her appreciation to Falun Gong practitioners for devoting their lives to changing the world in the peaceful way.


Simma Holt, a former Canadian MP, also expressed her support at the conference. She praised Falun Gong practitioners. She said that if there had been such an organization in 1930s appealing for human rights, then the Nazi's genocide would not have happened. She called upon the city government not to over-emphasize the importance of economy. She said that Hitler's Germany was wealthy, too, but brought disaster to the world.


Raymond Yee, the representative of the Canadian Tibetan Association, said, “If we don't stand out in front of the Chinese consulate, we are helping the evil, we are acknowledging the persecution of Falun Gong.”


City government revised the draft

 
The new draft allows the structures in front of the Chinese consulate and also removes the $200 registration fee and $1,000 deposit, but increases the fine for breaking the law.


There are still some limits in the new version, such as that the size of the allowable structure is reduced by half.


The new version will be debated by the city council on April 19.


Posting date: 4/16/2011
Category: Community Events
Chinese version available at http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2011/4/15/法轮功学员坚持讲真相-温哥华修改城市附例(图)-239102.html

Watch Shen Yun Introduction


Falun Dafa Around the World: Romania



(Clearwisdom.net) Romania, located in the northeast of the Balkan Peninsula, has the world famous Danube Biosphere Reserve—a delta where the Danube River meets the Black Sea, also the largest delta in Europe. The capital of Romania, Bucharest, located on a plain where branches of the Danube pass through, has beautiful scenery.

Behind the peaceful landscapes lies a tumultuous past. Romania was the only Eastern Bloc country to overthrow its Communist regime violently. On December 17, 1989, over ten thousand residents of Timisoara, the second largest city of Romania, took to the streets to protest the tyranny of the Communist dictator. In a few days, the wave expanded to the whole nation. On December 25, the Romanian Communist Party was overturned and the dictator, Ceausescu, was executed. The Romanians experienced great suffering under the Communist Party's rule so they can empathize with Falun Gong practitioners who are persecuted brutally by the Chinese Communist Party for their belief in Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.

Falun Dafa, also called Falun Gong, is based on the universal principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. The practice has spread to over one hundred countries and more than 100 million people have benefited from it. In 1998, Romania had its first Falun Dafa exercise teaching class. Books written by Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa, were also translated into Romanian and published. The Falun Dafa Association of Romania was established on February 18, 2003.

Residents of Turnu Severin City learning Falun Gong exercises.
 The Happiest Day of My Life

Many Romanians saw the public outdoor practice or heard about Falun Gong from friends and relatives. Falun Dafa practitioner Dana recalled, “I started practicing Falun Gong on July 1, 2001. At that time I found a small ad in a newspaper in Bucharest, mentioning free qigong courses. I had heard brief things about the practice and I wanted to know more about it. I became even more interested when I saw that the courses were free of charge -- a situation so seldom seen in my country. I went to the park where the practice site was and I practiced together with the other people gathered there. ”

Romanian Falun Dafa practitioners set up new exercise practice site and teach new students the exercises.
 Mia, from Romania, works in a biology research institute in America. She said, "The happiest day of my life was the day I learned Falun Dafa. Romania used to be communist and I know how Communists persecute people with beliefs. I can imagine how inhumane and brutal the persecution of Falun Dafa is in China. I hope it ends soon and practitioners in China, where the practice started, can practice openly and freely."

Former Romanian President Sends Greetings on Falun Dafa Day

For over ten years, Falun Dafa practitioners around the world have been persistently clarifying the truth and opposing the persecution. The governments and people of the world have gradually learned the truth about the persecution of Falun Gong in China. On May 12, 2010, Dr. Emil Constantinescu, the former president of Romania, wrote a letter to the Romanian Falun Dafa Association in recognition of the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance on the occasion of World Falun Dafa Day.

Dr. Constantinescu was the president of Romania from 1996 to 2000. In his letter he wrote, “The principles promoted by Falun Dafa - Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance - can help us all, whatever our beliefs may be, in our attempt to improve our life and the perspective of life. These principles help us cherish the most important thing for us, as human beings: the concern for the less fortunate ones, the sacrifice, loyalty and dedication.”

At the same time, Ms. Lucica Humeniuc, co-president of the Romanian Independent Society of Human Rights, wrote the following letter to the Romanian Falun Dafa Association in recognition of World Falun Dafa Day. In the letter, she wrote, “On this day of celebration, I wish to congratulate the Falun Gong, which reminds us of wonderful principles that ennobles each of us. ”

Media Reports on the Persecution of Falun Gong

On November 5, 2001, a press conference was held in Cluj-Napoca City, with the theme of "Stop the Killing! SOS! Urgent: Rescue Falun Gong Practitioners Persecuted in China."

Practitioners exposed the inhuman torture used against Falun Gong practitioners in China by the Jiang Zemin regime and the state terrorist behavior of the "610 Office." Reporters were shocked by the information. After the conference, some of them expressed their thanks to the practitioners for speaking out.

Among about a dozen reporters at the event, two were from local radio and TV stations. The local TV and radio station reporters interviewed the practitioners.


Romanian TV and radio station reporters interviewing a practitioner.
 From October 12 to 18, 2009, the Art of Truth, Compassion, Tolerance International Exhibition was held in Anaid Art Gallery in Bucharest. A lot of visitors viewed the paintings and were stunned by the fine artistry as well as the brutal torture of the persecution. Romanian major culture TV channel TVR Cultural reported on the opening ceremony and interviewed Falun Dafa practitioners.

People carefully viewing the artworks.
 Three special guests gave speeches at the opening ceremony. They were Art Historian Ms. Dragu Mariana, who works for the Romanian National Art Museum, Co-President of SIRDO for Human Rights Ms. Lucica Humenius, and the vice-president of an important political party, professor Oprean Ion. They praised the artworks of the exhibition, commenting that they were pure, bright, peaceful and true and that they bring people hope.

Having Experienced the Evil Nature of the Communist Party, Romanians Support Falun Gong Practitioners' Efforts to Stop the Persecution

On the weekend of May 28-29, 2005, Romanian Falun Gong practitioners went to Suceava to promote Falun Gong and raise awareness of the brutal persecution inflicted on practitioners by the Chinese Communist Party. They handed out leaflets about Falun Gong to tourists in the park.

Two older women said with emotion, "What the evil Chinese Communist Party has done is the same as what Ceausescu (the former dictator of the Romanian Communist Party) did in order to hold onto power. They do not allow any different voices; they simply deprive people of their freedom of speech." She gave an example and explained that, "In the past, they secretly monitored telephone conversations. Whoever uttered unusual remarks could be reported to the higher authorities, which made everyone extremely scared."

Two Romanian women condemn the Chinese Communist Party's persecution.
 On June 4, 2005, Romanian practitioners went to the beautiful and ancient city of Brasov to promote Falun Gong. On the main square, practitioners demonstrated the exercises. Passersby stopped to view a photo exhibition revealing the CCP's brutality toward peaceful Falun Gong practitioners. Many then signed a petition calling for an end to the persecution.

People stop to learn about Falun Gong
Signing a petition to support Falun Gong
 Romanian President Condemns Communist Rule as "Illegitimate and Criminal"

Romanian President Traian Basescu condemned Romania's Communist regime as "illegitimate and criminal" in a speech delivered at a special Romanian Parliamentary session on December 18, 2006. His remarks garnered widespread attention.


Romanian President Traian Basescu condemned Romania's Communist regime as "illegitimate and criminal" in a speech delivered at a special Romanian Parliamentary session on December 18, 2006.

President Basescu presented the Parliament with an officially commissioned report on Romania's Communist era, which condemned the regime for killing hundreds of thousands of citizens and ruining the lives of millions during its rule.

President Basescu called upon Members of Parliament to support his condemnation and offer sympathy to the victims of the Communist regime, in accordance with the European Commission's decision No. 1481 passed on January 25, 2006. The president expressed regret and compassion for the regime's victims on behalf of the Romanian state, apologizing to those who suffered, to their families and to all those who, in one way or another, saw their lives ruined by the dictatorship.

Former Cezch Republic President Vaclav Havel, Bulgaria's former President Jelio Jelev, former Polish President and Nobel Peace laureate Lech Walesa, former Romanian President Emil Constantinescu, and Romania's former King Mihai, Prince Radu, and Princess Margareta also attended the session to shore up support.

During the recess, President Basescu and several former Presidents of Eastern European countries received the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party from practitioners. They were delighted to see this book.

Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tacireanu sat next to the President during his speech to show support for the President's condemnation of Communism.

Posting date: 4/16/2011
Category: Community Events
Chinese version available at http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2011/4/13/修者足迹遍天涯--罗马尼亚(图)-238978.html

Introducing Falun Gong in Burgas, Bulgaria (Photos)


By a Falun Dafa practitioner in Bulgaria

(Clearwisdom.net) On March 27, 2011, Falun Gong practitioners held activities in Burgas, the fourth largest city in Bulgaria, to introduce the practice of Falun Dafa (also called Falun Gong) and expose the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Burgas suffered a great deal of damage under Communist Party rule but still has a many buildings from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Practitioners did the exercises as a group on the beach in the morning. Several local residents came and learned the exercises. It was a warm and sunny day. The Black Sea was unusually calm and there was a gentle breeze. The elements seemed to be trying not to disturb the exercises.

Falun Gong practitioners do the exercises on the beach in a park in Burgas.  

Practitioners went to downtown Burgas around 2:00 in the afternoon. They set up banners and distributed paper lotus flowers and brochures about Falun Gong and the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Some of them demonstrated the exercises. About 150 people signed a petition calling for an end to the persecution. It was the first time that many local residents had ever heard about the persecution. They stopped by to find out more and patiently waited in line to add their signatures. They were disturbed when they heard what is going on and signed in support of the Chinese people being persecuted.

Collecting signatures in downtown Burgas.
 It was the first time that practitioners had collected signatures in Burgas. Most practitioners here are new. They benefit from Falun Dafa and would like to introduce it their fellow countrymen. Their past activities mainly focused on introducing Falun Gong, but they realized the significance of exposing the persecution and held this signature collection activity.


Posting date: 4/16/2011
Category: Community Events
Chinese version available at http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2011/4/15/在保加利亚布尔加斯市讲法轮功真相(图)-239103.html

4/17/2011

Misuse of Antibiotics Lead to Drug-Resistant Bugs in China: WHO







The overuse of antibiotics in China is increasing the risks of drug-resistant diseases like tuberculosis, the World Health Organization and China’s Health Ministry warned last week.

Antibiotics are often prescribed to patients who don’t need them, as a way to generate income for hospitals. The drugs are also increasingly being misused in China’s food industry. The Associated Press reported last Thursday that antibiotics are being found in foods like fish and honey.

Overusing antibiotics can create superbugs that become resistant to conventional drugs. According to WHO’s representative in China Dr. Michael O’Leary, about 6.8% of tuberculosis cases in the country are multiple-drug resistant. This is much higher than the 2% rate in most developed countries.

O’Leary says drug-resistant bacteria are dangerous to patients because infections take longer to treat, and there is a greater risk of death.

On Monday, Chinese state-run media reported authorities are looking to draw up guidelines to control the use of antibiotics.

According to China’s Ministry of Health, 70% of Chinese patients are given antibiotics when only 20% actually need them.