When Patrice Loung a practitioner of an ancient self-cultivation practice out of China, called Falun Dafa, submitted an application to this years Utah Asian Festival, she foresaw no difficulties. She and other Falun Gong practitioners had been there two years ago, to demonstrate the five, meditative exercises and to introduce the practice which is based upon the belief in the principles of “Truth, Compassion and Tolerance”, and to teach people how to make oragami lotus flowers. She was surprised when not long after her application was accepted, she was sent a letter saying that Falun Gong was no longer welcome in the Festival due to some unspecified “incident”. When Patrice contacted Imanuel Aswandi, in charge a booths, she was told that the Festival staff had been contacted by some “Chinese people” (she wasn’t told who they were) and that they had expressed that they were offended by the presence of Falun Gong at the Festival and that the Falun Gong banners were political. In fact the only two banners shown said “Truth, Compassion, Tolerance” in Chinese characters and “Falun Dafa is Good” also in Chinese characters. Explaining this to the Festival Staff seemed to do no good. This incidence leads Falun Gong practitioners to believe that the Asian Festival, which is funded in part by the Salt Lake County ZAP program, is being influenced by either the Chinese Communist government, or by Chinese people who have been influenced by the CCP’s propaganda assault on Falun Gong.

Falun Dafa was very popular in China up until 1999. Many people reported that the practice had helped the to recover from long term ailments, gain mental clarity and experience a greater sense of well being. Li Hongzhi who broght the once esoteric practice out the the public in 1992 has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prince. In 1999 Jiang Zeming discovered that there were more Falun Gong practitioners then members of the Chinese Communist Party, many high level officials were even practicing. He reacted with rage and jealousy and vowed that he would “eradicate” the practice of Falun Gong. Since that time human rights lawyers (David Matis for example) estimate that at least 100 thousand have been tortured to death because of their refusal to give up their belif in truth, compassion and tolerance. The numbers may be much higher. Amnesty International reported in 2008 that “Falun Gong practitioners are being killed in custody faster and more frequently than before.” Millions are being sent to slave labor camps, evicted from jobs and schools, harassed and otherwise persecuted. In ‘ An Independent Investigation into Allegations of organ Harvesting of Falun gong practitioners in China’ David Matis and Hon. David Kilgor out line 13 pieces of evidence that prove that the Chinese government has been systematically executing Falun Gong practitioners on Demand in order to harvest their organs for profit. In November 2008, the United Nations Committee Against Torture made a strong statement on the matter, noting that an increase in organ transplant operations coincides with “the beginning of the persecution of [Falun Gong practitioners]” The CCP has spent tens of millions of dollars on a propaganda assault against Falun Gong, in an attempt to legitimize this persecution.

Being concerned that the Utah Asian Festival was (perhaps unwittingly) cooperating with the CCP to import the persecution of Falun Gong onto US soil, Patrice and other Falun Gong practitioners decided to contact the US government. They met with a Mary Maughanat Sen. Bennat’s office who has supported the group in the past. They also met with Jennifer Scott a district director for Congressman Jason Chaffets, she
suggest contact the capitol to check where the funding of Asian Festival comes from. Then a Falun Gong Rep. contacted Linda Odo of the Utah Dep. of Asian Affairs, and reported that she was very kind and open, but since her department no longer funds the Festival there was little she could do. So Falun Gong practitioners contacted Victoria Bournes, the Program Manager of the Salt Lake County ZAPprogram. They hoped that the county could help since both Mayor Ralph Becker and Mayor Peter Cooron have written proclamations in support of Falun Gong. The Falun Gong rep. who spoke to her reported that though Ms. Bournes listened to what she had to say, she didn’t seem very concerned about it and Bournes stated that there was much that she could do to help. After continued discussions with the Asian Festival no changes were happening. Euncie Jones the festival chair, promised to arrgange a meeting with Falun Gong practitioners, but never followed through with those promises. Finally after the topic of possible litigation was brought up, members of the Asian Festival decided to change their story. Instead of saying that the Falun Gong banners were political they said that Falun Gong had broken rules by having banners on stage at all when demonstrating their exercises. When asked about this Patrice said that they asked were not told of this rule before hand; more ever, they had asked permission from one of the staff before putting up the banners. She reports that when they were asked to take them down because they where covering some of the sponsers, they did so immediately, so when they were actually on stage there were no banners. The pictures on the following website can verify this. http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2007/6/14/86764.html

The Asian Festival Staff has stood their ground in discriminating against Falun Gong. They now say that there is no room, even though they had previously accepted the application. Falun Gong practitioners plan to be on the public sidewalk out side of the Festival holding their banner which says “Falun Dafa is Good” They hope that the Asian Festival staff will keep their latest agreement to meet with them after the festival, in,order to clear up this issue before next year. In a conversation with Mr. Aswandi, he said that Practicioners are not allowed to talk about the persection of Falun Gong to anyone at the festival or distribute any flyers with any information about the persection of Falun Gong. Robin Kemmer a Utah Falun Gong practicioner, quotes David Matis in saying “If these things are “political”, then all moral human activity is ‘political'”

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