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New York City to Host Celebrations for 20th Anniversary of Falun Gong's Public Introduction

Chinatown Parade, Performances in Times Square Headline a Weekend of Festivities and Vigils

Dragon dance festivities at the 2011 World Falun Dafa Day celebration in New York City.

Dragon dance festivities at the 2011 World Falun Dafa Day celebration in New York City.

NEW YORK -- Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners will join a parade, live performances and other festivities throughout New York City this weekend to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Falun Gong's public introduction. Many will also hold vigils outside the Chinese consulate on 42nd Street, in protest of the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong practitioners inside China.

Falun Gong's sitting meditation in New York's Central Park

Falun Gong's sitting meditation in New York's Central Park

"Although Falun Gong is part of an ancient tradition, tens of millions around the world have found it to be ideal for the modern day," says Erping Zhang, spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Information Center. "In Falun Gong, we have not only found a practice from the Buddha School that brings health, serenity and wisdom to our lives, but even more so, we have found a way to return to our original, true selves…to get back in touch with our kind, divine side."

Waist drum troupe of Falun Gong practitioners.

Waist drum troupe of Falun Gong practitioners.

"It's certainly something worth celebrating and this weekend we have people coming from all over the world -- Asia, Australia, Europe, South America and across North America -- to do just that. At the same time, it's an opportunity to shine a light on how our fellow Falun Gong practitioners in China face detention and torture simply for pursuing the same spiritual path we are openly celebrating here in New York."

Similar celebrations and activities are planned in dozens of cities around the world.

Exactly twenty years ago this Sunday, Mr. Li Hongzhi began teaching Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa), introducing to modern China a practice with roots extending back thousands of years. By early 1999, there were 100 million people practicing Falun Gong in China alone.

Today, Falun Gong is practiced in over 70 countries worldwide.

At the core of Falun Gong's teachings is the understanding that Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance comprise the fundamental nature of all lives and all things. Practitioners of Falun Gong seek to assimilate to these values by practicing slow-moving exercises and a sitting meditation, as well as studying and applying these principles to daily life. In so doing, millions have found not only a sense of inner calm and optimism, but also a profound understanding of life and the universe around them.

For more information about the New York City events, call Levi Browde +1 845 418 4870, Erping Zhang +1 646 533 6147 or Gail Rachlin +1 917 757 9780