WASHINGTON – JULY 16, 2001 - More than 3,000 Falun Gong practitioners and supporters from across the globe will gather in Washington on Thursday, July 19 to mark the second anniversary of China’s brutal crackdown on Falun Gong. The event is part of a global campaign, "SOS! Urgent Call to Rescue the Falun Gong Practitioners Persecuted in China," that also seeks to stop the Communist regime from killing and persecuting innocent practitioners further, and to encourage international support for this cause. Many participants arrived in Washington by foot and bicycle, having left their homes across the country weeks beforehand to generate awareness about the persecution in China. Two years ago this Friday China’s regime banned Falun Gong, and now, more than 250 Falun Gong practitioners have been killed in police custody, with 49 deaths reported in the past month alone. Tens of thousands now languish in labor "re-education" camps and jails, as well as mental hospitals.Participants in Thursday’s rally are expected from 30 countries and most U.S. states, carrying an array of banners, posters and placards to memorialize those who have been murdered, to date, in China for practicing Falun Gong. Many are witnesses to the brutal crackdown, or have family in China who are victims.A march is scheduled to step off 10:30 a.m. Thursday from the Washington Monument. Thousands of practitioners will peacefully march to the Capitol, where a press conference will be held on the lower west terrace at noon. Speakers will include Rep. Ben Gilman (R-NY), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla), Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY).WHEN & Thursday, July 19, 2001 WHERE: – 10:30 A.M., March from the Washington Monument– 12:00 P.M. Press Conference and Rally at the Capitol, Lower West TerraceWHO: Freedom House, Friends of Falun Gong, and federal legislators, along with Falun Gong practitioners and other supportersFalun Gong (also called Falun Dafa) is an ancient form of qigong, the practice of refining the body and mind through special exercises and meditation. In just eight years since its public introduction, Falun Gong has grown to become the most popular form of qigong ever in Chinese history. Tens of millions of people in more than 40 countries have taken up the practice.